The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the sustained protests across the U.S. that have followed have taken many Americans by surprise. For others -- especially those who are black, indigenous, and people of color -- these tragic deaths at the hands of police (or those acting on their behalf) serve as another unwelcome reminder of the long history of violent racism and gripping inequalities that ignite their calls for justice and change.
The staff of the American Social History Project stands in solidarity with those who have taken to the streets to demand justice and who envision a more just and equitable country and world. As educators and scholars, we recognize the power of history to provide an understanding of the past that can help transform our present lives and shape our future. For that purpose, we have compiled some resources for those who want to better understand the history of both black oppression and black resistance that make up the U.S. story. This very selective compilation highlights materials drawn from our own collections, plus links to other freely accessible documents, collections, lesson plans, and items suitable for students, teachers, researchers, public historians, and the interested public. We also include some questions for discussion and reflection. Please share this site widely, and check back as we plan to update and expand the collection.