Summer Reading List


CU Summer Radical Reading List


Spring is Queer!

April’s readings are some of our personal favorites! Many different local organizations and individuals have expressed interest in reading something along these [not so straight] lines so we decided to make them our “official” readings for April. We will be meeting on April 17th from 2-4pm at the Red Herring (1209 W. Oregon St. Urbana).

First up, the 1982 piece, “The Combahee River Collective Statement” also titled, “A Black Feminist Statement by The Combahee River Collective Statement”.

combahee river collective

The Combahee River Collective was named after an action planned and led by Harriet Tubman at the Combahee River (an action which freed 750 slaves). The 1970’s Black lesbian feminist collective’s statement is now widely used as a staple of contemporary feminist discussions on identity and intersectionality.

We’ll also be discussing Audre Lorde’s 1979 speech, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Mater’s House” which is one of her most referenced pieces. A radical Black (Caribbean-American) lesbian feminist poet, Lorde has left a lasting impact on both social justice communities and feminist discourse.


Finally, we’ll discuss the 2010 pamphlet, “Queer Liberation is Class Struggle” by JOMO. This pamphlet calls for something beyond mere assimilation of queer folks in a capitalist world.

queer anti-capitalist

We’ll also discuss what we’d like to do for May as we usually have a picnic or participate in May Day activities in town before we break for the summer.

See ya’ll on April 17th!


Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism

Our book for March is Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism Edited by Cindy Milstein.  It is a collection of articles; some of which you may have already read!
Cindy (and possibly Michael) will join us for a critical discussion in C-U on March 22nd at 7:00pm in Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant (1209 W. Oregon St. Urbana)
Our discussion will be followed by a casual open mic and refreshments.
Here are the articles included in the book, many of which can be found online if you are unable to purchase the book itself:
“Brave Motherfuckers: Reflections on Past Struggles to Abolish White Supremacy” by Michael Staudenmaier
“Dangerous Allies” by Tipu’s Tiger
“Coconspirators” by Neal Shirley and Saralee Stafford
“Outside Agitators” by J.B.
“We Are All Oscar Grant(?): Attacking White Supremacy in the Rebellions and Beyond” by Finn Feinberg

Rereading Fanon

For February we are participating in a community-wide read! Our group will be discussing the book The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon on February 21st at 2pm in the IMC building. The following weekend, we’ll connect with other groups and individuals who also discussed the book for a keynote lecture by Lou Turner on Friday night. Then on Saturday, join us for all or some of the events that include lunch with Dawn Blackman, a student activist panel and a walk to Randolph Street Community Garden.

rereading fanon

Assata: An Autobiography

Sunday, January 17th from 2-4pm we will be holding a workshop to explore the memoir of Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography). As usual, we’ll be meeting upstairs in the IMC (202. S. Broadway in Urbana). If you’ve never read this book we highly recommend it. It’s an essential voice in the history and movement of Black liberation in the United States; and it is a fast paced and gorgeously written book. We look forward to exchanging thoughts on the life and work of Assata Shakur.

assata book



Sunday: Show up for Tamir


There will be a commemoration event for Tamir Rice happening this Sunday at 3:30pm. CU Radical Reading group organizers had previously discussed the anniversary of Tamir’s murder and wanted to honor his life and challenge police brutality. The local Black Lives Matter chapter has very recently (this week) organized something so now we find ourselves in an awkward spot. The CU Radical Reading group would like to stand in solidarity with our Black friends and neighbors. It is in this solidarity that we have decided to cancel Sunday’s meeting in order to attend this event for Tamir Rice and remember his life and support his family’s struggle for justice. Below is the information about this Sunday’s event. Please show up in solidarity, putting our recent readings about police and racism into direct action. 

Thank you for your understanding,

“On Sunday, November 22 Black Lives Matter CU will be having an event commemorating the one year anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death.

The schedule is as follows:

330-4pm: March from University & 4th St. to Douglass Park

4pm-430pm: Vigil under pavilion: prayer by local minister, brief words from BLM 

430-530pm: Indoor discussion, refreshments, information distributed on how to assist in the ongoing case”

Tamir Rice



November: Understanding Mass Incarceration CANCELLED


Local author and activist James Kilgore has a new book out and we want to read it! James is a tireless organizer for many prison and jail justice projects including First Followers (a community-based reentry program), Build Programs Not Jails, and Prison Phone Justice. He currently works at the Center for African Studies, teaches Global Studies courses at UIUC, and regularly contributes articles on mass incarceration and social justice for several media outlets. He spent six and a half years in state and federal prisons in California for convictions related to his political activities in the 1970’s and his subsequent two plus decades underground.

What’s especially attractive about James’ book is that it is accessible to a wide range of educational backgrounds and serves as a handbook for people seriously interested in addressing and interrupting cycles of mass incarceration and institutional racism.

understanding mass incarceration cover

To learn more about James and where to get his book please visit: