Why Do We Need a ‘New Timbuktu’?.
We started New Timbuktu because we believe Black people deserve analysis as serious as their problems.
Independent, non-corporate analysis on the issues facing the Black community is our only hope for curating deep conversations and understanding which opens up the possibility for radically changing our conditions.
In the face of seeing few examples of this in our present, we looked back to our past, and used the ancient African center of learning Timbuktu, in modern day Mali, as inspiration for our effort.
While we have an explicit focus on Black Institution Building and Pan Afrikan Scholarship, we believe in creating an open learning community where the only inclusion criteria are that you love Black people more than ideology, retweets or throwing shade.
The only way we can build the capacity to continue to support the unflinching analysis of Black issues is the independent financial support we get from Community Sustainers. These are folk who agree to give a small amount of money every month to ensure the consistent viability of our institution.
The Grassroots Difference.
New Timbuktu is a community of scholars/activists. The hosting organization, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, has been doing work on the ground in Baltimore for over eight years. When we post analysis, it comes from real-world experiences and reflections for how to fill in holes in the discourse that will help activists do work on the real world.
Our training in the Black radical tradition showed us the importance of building a learning community which extends beyond academic disciplines.
It has also shown us something important but often left out of other efforts; we know that we don’t have all the answers. We know that we’re not doing anything original. We know people far smarter and more committed than we are. All of these truths unify to make New Timbuktu possible. While we don’t have all the answers, we do have enough experience to know we must go to our village, ask and seek wisdom. We must discern the best questions to ask to better orient ourselves in the struggle, the sort of questions you can’t find anywhere else.
When you support New Timbuktu, you’re not just supporting an online learning community; you’re supporting a grassroots organizing and advocacy innovation which seeks to put into action the ideas researched and theorized.
Where does your money go?.
It does go to our grassroots organizing working on the ground to put the ideas you read about into action. LBS takes up the task of doing advocacy, planning, coalition building on the variety of issues presented on New Timbuktu. This work then gives us the material we use to create our analysis on New Timbuktu, a virtuous cycle we hope can represent the best of independent Black institution building.
As a reflection of our criticism of the Nonprofit Industrial Complex, we are not a non-profit, and neither foundations nor rich benefactor are the driving force behind this effort. We’re doing this work on the bet that if we authentically serve our people, creating space and value, and we’ll be able to sustain with your support.