College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Black Lives Matter Solidarity Statement

Statement from the Department of History, June 2020

We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, with Black and Brown faculty, staff, students, and friends, and with all who have experienced racism and other forms of injustice. 

As people around the globe come together in their communities to protest yet another murder of an unarmed Black person, we are filled with sorrow, anger, and a common desire to bring our collective knowledge of the past to bear on understanding and solving the deep-rooted problems of the present. The senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd is but one among so many tragic deaths, including the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, that have repeatedly demonstrated the strong current of institutional and individual racism that continues to undermine the principles of our justice system and the ideals of American democracy. Policing organizations in the United States are not the only institutions that are shaped by or operate with racial bias. The high mortality rates due to COVID-19 among African American and Native American citizens demonstrate other dimensions of systemic racism, such as inequities in access to medical, financial, and educational resources, that perpetuate structural inequalities on our campus, in Kansas and in the United States. In addition, recent attacks on Asian Americans and Asians living in the United States and the rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric serve as further evidence of entrenched racist attitudes among the American public. All of this is rooted in our respective pasts – as members of university, state, national, and international communities. None of this is acceptable.

To study history in the twenty-first century is to not only learn more about who we are, but to acknowledge the stories of people who have been silenced and excluded from history books. Their voices matter. Their histories matter. We see our role as professors as a chance to engage students in a respectful understanding of the diversity of past peoples and events in hopes that we all grow in creating tolerant, equitable communities in the United States and around the globe. We commit to redoubling our efforts to use our intellectual resources to excavate the history of institutional racism and participate in a much-needed and long-overdue period of listening and learning from one another. We will continue to try, as we move forward, to use that knowledge to shape the kinds of fundamental changes that are required to eliminate the institutionalized inequality that undergirds racist acts and beliefs. We extend an open invitation to students and the KU community to join us in our classrooms and public presentations as we study, listen, and reflect on our troubling past in order to remake the present and advocate for future justice.

Signed by faculty and staff of the Department of History, University of Kansas

 

Recommended Resources – A Starting Point.

 

A Sample of Books, Many Published Recently

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010)

David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018)

Charlene Carruthers, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements (2019)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)

Brittany Cooper, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (2019)

Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class (1981)

Robin Diangelo, White Fragility (2018)

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (2005 edition with a foreward by Homi K. Bhabha)

James Forman Jr., Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (2017)

Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist (2019)

Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning (2016)

Patrice Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (2020)

Abdi Nor Iftin, Call Me American: A Memoir (2019)

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861)

Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir (2019)

Kiese Laymon, Heavy: An American Memoir (2018)

Christopher J. Lebron, The Making of Black Lies Matter: A Brief History of an Idea (2018)

Bettina Love, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (2020)

Jonathan M. Metzl, Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland (2019)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Michelle Obama, Becoming (2018)

Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race (2019)

Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning (2020)

Nell Irvin Painter, Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (1992)

Barbara Ransby, Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century (2018)

Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix (2020)

Layla F. Saad, Me and White Supremacy (2020)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, ed. How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (2017)

John Kuo Wei Tchen, New York before Chinatown: Orientalism and the Shaping of American Culture (2001)

Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (2007)

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (2016)

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (2011)

 

A list of strategies and resources to help advocate for change in this moment and into the future compiled by the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at KU will help you to take action. We encourage you to consult this website:

http://wgss.ku.edu/wgss-statement-protests-black-lives

 

University resources available to provide support:

·   Office of Diversity & Equity | 785-864-4904 or diversity@ku.edu

·   University Ombuds Office | 785-864-7261 or ombuds@ku.edu

·   Student Affairs Assists | studentaffairs.ku.edu/student-affairs-assists

·   Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access  | 785-864-6414, ioa@ku.edu.

·   Counseling and Psychological Services | 785-864-2277

·   Legal Services for Students | 785-864-5665, legals@ku.edu

·   CARE Coordinator | 785-864-9255 or care@ku.edu

 

 


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