Examine the struggle for justice for Black Americans, from voter suppression and the controversy over Confederate monuments to the protests against police brutality and racially motivated violence. Gain historical and current context to understand why the fight for Black rights continues today, through our brand-new series The Fight for Black Rights (Alternator Books®)
- Interest Level: Grade 3 – Grade 6
- Reading Level: Grade 4
Civil War monuments that pay tribute to Confederate soldiers and political leaders are located in many major cities across the United States. While some see these statues and symbols as part of the nation’s history that should be preserved, others see them as icons of white supremacy that should be removed from public spaces. In some cases, communities are forcibly removing them in protest. Discover the history of these controversial monuments from their creation to removal and learn about the ongoing debate regarding their place in modern society.
Vigilantes are regular citizens who take justice into their own hands, outside of the law. When people take action in this way, the consequences can be devastating. Over the course of American history, vigilante behavior has led to the deaths of thousands of Black Americans, including Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and Ahmaud Arbery. Learn about the long history of racially-motivated vigilantism and how people are working to protect Black lives from this dangerous threat.
What is the Black Lives Matter movement? How have people been protesting the ongoing violence against the Black community? From its inception as a social media hashtag in 2013 to a movement with supporters around the world, Black Lives Matter has become much more than a slogan. It has changed the way people protest using social media as well as the public discourse around police brutality. Learn about how Black Lives Matter has roots in America’s long struggle for racial justice and how the movement will change the future.
Voter suppression includes registration restrictions, in-person voting requirements, mass purges of voter rolls, eliminating polling locations, and redrawing district lines in unfair ways. Black voters in particular have faced growing challenges in trying to cast their ballots since 2008. But the issue of voter suppression is not new. Americans have fought for decades against laws that restrict their ability to vote. Learn about the history of voter suppression in the United States, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the ongoing fight to protect voting rights for all Americans.
Film and television are major sources of entertainment and help define culture. Blockbusters like Black Panther and TV shows like Black-ish place Black characters and their experiences front and center. But Black people and Black culture have not always been represented in positive or accurate ways on screen and in many cases were portrayed by white actors. Learn about the long history of Black representation in entertainment and how increased diversity continues to shape television and movies.
Many important moments in history have not been taught in schools or explored in the mainstream media. These events often include people of color and involve Black history. This “whitewashing” of history, intentional or not, puts all Americans at a disadvantage. Learn about Black history moments that shaped America, from the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia in 1619 to the Freedom Summer of 1964, and read about efforts to reshape how we teach Black history in schools in the 21st century.