In the weeks since the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, marches against racism and police brutality have swept the United States and cities around the world. To help make sense of this moment, award-winning historian Keisha N. Blain offers this curated collection of articles by black writers on the history of black protest, the legacy of state violence, and why these demonstrations might yet be different.
There is something so wounded in American society that basic commitment to justice is not part of the operating code.
Police violence against African Americans has persisted for centuries.
In a country reeling from being involuntary witnesses to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Breonna Taylor’s death does not fit the spectacular forms of police killing that we have come to associate with America’s nefarious lynching past.
The collapse of politics and governance leaves no other option.
About the curator
Keisha N. Blain is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh and author of the multi-prize-winning book, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). Blain is currently a 2019-2020 W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow in the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Follow her on Twitter @KeishaBlain.
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