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The Black Cell

 

It’s 2024 and police brutality against Black people is at an all-time high in Baltimore and across the country. Corey Masters, a young Black man, is deeply troubled by experiences of racism during his childhood. After a false arrest and beating by police, Corey’s anger is at boiling point. It is then that his roommate introduces him to the Baltimore Cell, one of many secret groups around the country recruiting and training Black people for armed resistance.

Corey joins the Cell and meets Tasia, a young single mother who is trying to find a place in the world for herself and her toddler daughter. Both Corey and Tasia become involved in the Cell’s armed resistance against white supremacy. The U.S. is on the verge of electing a new president, who will bring to power a group called The Alt, which is determined to return Black people to slavery. The Cell joins with La Lucha (its Latinx counterpart), which is organizing armed resistance to protect Latinx residents and immigrants. Together, the two groups maintain a growing membership in the millions.

The Black Cell is a Black dystopian fantasy, grounded in the author’s experience as a Baltimore activist, professor, and social service leader. Unapologetically targeted to Black readers and others interested in Black liberation, this will appeal to readers of utopian fantasies like Octavia Butler (Parable of the Talents) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (Black Panther).

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The Black Cell Reviews

There are multiple ways to tell the story of Black Liberation. But the book by new author Wendy Shaia

— “The Black Cell: By Any Means Necessary” — provides a roadmap of possibility, telling the story with passion, purpose, and people; characters that you will feel you know from the first page to the last.

 

She weaves a story that places you at the intersection of Past, Present, and potential Future.  A read full of heartbreak and promise, this author opens the door to a Black Baltimore that we can see glimpses of, not from a place of brokenness but from a place of power deriving from knowing our history and embracing our community of Elders, Youth, and Babies. This book is an example of how living in our collective power can free our minds to truly reach toward Black Liberation.  It puts the risks, the work, and the promise front and center.  This novel is a worthy contribution to Afrofuturism literature. I highly — highly! — recommend it."

A. Adar Ayira

Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Educator