158 RESOURCES TO UNDERSTAND RACISM IN AMERICA

158 RESOURCES TO UNDERSTAND RACISM IN AMERICA

These articles, videos, podcasts and websites from the Smithsonian chronicle the history of anti-black violence and inequality in the United States
BY MEILAN SOLLY

In a short essay published early June of 2020, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch wrote that the recent killing in Minnesota of George Floyd has forced the country to “confront the reality that, despite gains made in the past 50 years, we are still a nation riven by inequality and racial division.”

Amid escalating clashes between protesters and police, discussing race—from the inequity embedded in American institutions to the United States’ long, painful history of anti-black violence—is an essential step in sparking meaningful societal change. To support those struggling to begin these difficult conversations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched a “Talking About Race” portal featuring “tools and guidance” for educators, parents, caregivers and other people committed to equity.

“Talking About Race” joins a vast trove of resources from the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to understanding what Bunch describes as America’s “tortured racial past.” From Smithsonian magazine articles on slavery’s Trail of Tears and the disturbing resilience of scientific racism to the National Museum of American History’s collection of Black History Month resources for educators and a Sidedoor podcast on the Tulsa Race Massacre, these 158 resources are designed to foster an equal society, encourage commitment to unbiased choices and promote antiracism in all aspects of life. Listings are bolded and organized by category.

Between 1525 and 1866, 12.5 million people were kidnapped from Africa and sent to the Americas through the transatlantic slave trade. Only 10.7 million survived the harrowing two month journey. Comprehending the sheer scale of this forced migration—and slavery’s subsequent spread across the country via interregional trade—can be a daunting task, but as historian Leslie Harris told Smithsonian’s Amy Crawford earlier this year, framing “these big concepts in terms of individual lives … can [help you] better understand what these things mean.”

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