San Miguel Literary Sala Presents
Lawrence Baines’ Privatization of America’s Public Institutions:
The Story of the American Sellout
and Mary Katherine Wainwright’s En Route
Thu, Mar 12, 5–7pm
Casa de la Noche
100 pesos (50 pesos for Literary Sala members)
By Carole Schor
The March 12 Literary Sala combines a beloved local writer and educator, Mary Katherine Wainwright, with a celebrated professor and scholar, Lawrence Baines, with a stunning message about our times!
Mary Katherine Wainwright
Mary Katherine grew up in the ’50s in the Deep South of Jim Crow and “pork chop” politics. She fulfilled the American dream of getting married and raising four children and then took off in a completely different direction by earning her PhD at age 40. Mary Katherine devoted her education, her thesis, and her eventual career to the literature of powerful African-American women: Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and the women of the Harlem Renaissance.
Her new book, entitled En Route, vividly evokes the era she lived through. We see her discovery of the library and books at the tender age of seven, the awakening to injustice and racism in the Birmingham of 1963, the birth of the Women’s Liberation movement with her newfound freedom of being able to divorce and travel the world on her own, and finally attending workshops and learning to write from some of the most renowned teachers of our time. Mary Katherine is a true renaissance woman herself.
We are fortunate that distinguished professor Lawrence Baines will be in town to present a discussion about the privatization of prisons, public schools, and the military in the United States. Democracy and culture in the US are on a dangerous trajectory away from the common good and toward profits for a very few. This privatization has been going on since the presidency of Ronald Reagan. How far have we gone with this privatization, and at what cost―in dollars, in measures of efficiency, and in our moral sense of ourselves? Reviewers have called the book “gracefully clear, readable, and often astonishing.” It is an “excellent, organized, and impassioned book―a valuable, insightful read.”
For example, Baines points out that about half of US Department of Defense allocations go toward paying private contractors with limited accountability and a history of inflated budgets and fraud, and that few of these private contractors are American. Up to 90 percent of private contractors are foreign with no loyalty or allegiance to US citizens. We have a similar loss of control over private K–12 schools, and over our entire prison system.
Lawrence Baines is Professor of English Education at The University of Oklahoma. He has held endowed chairs at the University of Toledo and at Berry College in Georgia.
Mary Katherine Wainwright will take us on her journey of self-discovery to become a writer, a teacher, a poet, and a world traveler. Lawrence Baines will take us on another kind of journey—down the rabbit hole of politics, corruption, and greed. Join us at Casa de la Noche. Calle Órganos 19, on Thursday, March 12, at 5pm. For more information, visit sanmiguelliterarysala.org.