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How the Past Echoes in the Protests: A Historian’s Recommended Reads

Keisha N. Blain shares works from Black writers examining the past, present, and future purpose of Black protest.

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In the months 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 movement, 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.

We Are Living in a Red Spring

Robert Greene II

In the Red Summer of 1919, racist violence hit America as the Spanish flu ravaged the country. With mass protests against police murders sweeping the pandemic-plagued United States, it appears we might be now living in a Red Spring.

Keisha N. Blain

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.