Black Lives Matter: Culturally Sustaining, Responsive, and Relevant Pedagogy in Higher Education.

AuthorJackson, Eric R.
PositionGuest commentary

Professor of History and Director of the Black World Studies Program, Department of History and Geography, Northern Kentucky University; Book Review Editor and Editorial Board member of Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies According to most scholars, "Black Lives Matter", founded as a social movement in the United States, by Alicia Garza, Patrisse McCullors, and Opal Tometi, emerged as a result of the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin on February 20, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman, who lived in the same neighborhood as Martin, shot and killed the 17-year-old, who was not armed. Despite Zimmerman's claim, Martin was weaponless, carrying only a can of iced tea and a bag of candy at the time he was shot. However, Zimmerman stated during the trial that he felt threatened. But, months before the trial, many activists were most concerned about how Martin's death was handled by the local police department, especially because of the many delays that took place in the identification of Martin's body, the notification of his parents, and the entire investigation process that led to criminal charges against Zimmerman for second-degree murder. Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted on July 13, 2013. Soon after the trial ended, "Black Lives Matter" appeared intensely as a slogan on social media, particularly "Twitter," as a platform to discuss a wide array of issues, particularly episodes of excessive force and violence used against African Americans, especially by those individuals who were in or affiliated with law enforcement organizations as well as right-wing groups.

The Black Lives Matter movement reached a higher level of visibility in its response to the 2014 death of Michael Brown, a teenager who was killed by a local police officer of the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri. More specifically, on August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson confronted Brown as he and a friend walked in the vicinity of his neighborhood, which was located about ten miles from St. Louis, Missouri. After Brown was killed by Officer Wilson some witnesses observed that Brown's body remained on the streets and unattended for hours. Thus, his death and the treatment of his body sparked massive protests throughout the town of Ferguson as well as throughout the nation. Most importantly, during the protests in Ferguson, the local police force regularly wore military-style uniforms and used tear gas, tanks, and assault weapons to break up the...

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