Black Lives Matter. We say their names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery.
State-sanctioned violence compounded by a lack of access to health care, fresh food, education and housing have led to mass inequities for Black communities throughout the Americas. But centuries of Black activism has pushed against the many manifestations of systemic racism in pursuit of racial, economic, and social justice.
Bronx Community College’s History Department invites you to explore how three faculty members have been illuminating this long history.
Dr. Prithi Kanakamedala (Associate Professor) works on the history of free Black communities in nineteenth-century Brooklyn and New York, with a focus on community building, protest, and self-determination. She was the curator of Brooklyn Abolitionists, a major long-term exhibit that was on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society from 2014 – 2019. See her interview with CBS2 News New York.
Dr. Raquel Otheguy (Assistant Professor) examines the history of Afro-Cubans and education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her work on José Moreno, a free Black educator in nineteenth-century Cuba is featured in SUM, the website highlighting research, innovation and creativity at CUNY.
Dr. Ahmed Reid (Associate Professor) focuses on plantation societies in nineteenth century Jamaica, and the struggle for reparations today. He is currently Chair of the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. In response to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, the committee said, “The true demonstration of whether Black lives do indeed matter remains to be seen in the steps that public authorities and private citizens take in response to the concrete demands that protestors are making.” Watch his interview on reparations and work with the UN on CUNY TV.
You can learn more about the rich, long history of Black activism at Bronx Community College in “We Must Stand United” a project led by Drs. Kanakamedala and Reid in Spring 2015.