New Timbuktu is a learning community hosted by Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle (LBS), a grassroots think tank based in Baltimore, Maryland.
The impetus for New Timbuktu comes out of our work in policy debate. For over a decade, members of LBS both competed in and coached policy debate at the highest levels, winning national championships and coaching debaters to high school and college debate national championships. Our debating and coaching methodology stemmed from our training in Black radical tradition and African centered scholarship.
New Timbuktu is a concept we use to encapsulate our attempts to speak back to the academy and inject the unique lessons culled from our decade of on-the-ground experience as policy advocates, teachers, and community organizers. In 2014, we created the New Timbuktu cell phone app, where we sought to aggregate Black radical videos into a central location. Over the past few years, we customized in-person New Timbuktu lectures to a wide range of audiences. We’ve worked with student and faculty scholars of Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Baltimore, Virginia Commonwealth University and Frostburg State University.
With the 2019 launch of NewTimbuktu.com, our goal is to create an online learning community where we come together with fellow Black scholars who also seek serious, in-depth analysis on how to best address the most pressing problems facing us. Our four content areas: 1) non-profit industrial complex, 2) criminal justice, 3) economic development, and 4) Black academia, are based on an identified need for in-depth theorizing in these areas from a grassroots perspective and Pan-Afrikan lense. Our goal is to create an intellectual neighborhood, where like-minded individuals can find space to gain a deeper understanding of how to solve the most pressing issues facing the Black community.