Baptized in Tear Gas: From White Moderate to Abolitionist

Baptized in Tear Gas: From White Moderate to Abolitionist

For years Elle Dowd considered herself an advocate for justice, but her well-meaning support always took a back burner to what Martin Luther King Jr. called the tension-free, ordered "negative peace" of white moderates. Then Michael Brown, a Black man, was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent Uprising changed everything.

In Baptized in Tear Gas, minister and activist Elle Dowd tells the gripping story of her transformation into an Assata Shakur-reading, courthouse-occupying abolitionist with an arrest record, hungry for the revolution. Thanks to deep relationships with people in Ferguson and St. Louis, and to experiencing a fraction of the system for herself--including the fear of rubber bullets, the shock of sound cannons, and running from tear gas--Dowd fully committed to the work of anti-racism and abolition. Now she wants to help other white allies do the same.

Like in baptism, this transformation requires parts of us to die: our lack of power analysis, our commitment to white niceness, our tone policing, our respectability politics--all of those impulses we have been socialized by since birth must die so that something new can be resurrected in our lives and in the world. The uprising in Ferguson changed Dowd, and through it, God made her into something new.

Now it's our turn.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506470429
  • eBook ISBN 9781506470436
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 158
  • Publication Date August 10, 2021


"Captivating. This book inspires readers to join her in the harrowing and holy work of traveling along the road away from White modera­tion and toward abolition."
Christian Century

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Chapter 1: Pulling Back the Veil
Chapter 2: Releasing Control
Chapter 3: Tension
Chapter 4: The Stakes
Chapter 5: Endurance as Resistance
Chapter 6: Community Care as Resistance
Chapter 7: Joy as Resistance
Chapter 8: The Cost
Chapter 9: Transformation