We’ve arrived at the end of Black History Month—although our readers know that Boston Review is committed to published about Black freedom struggles every month of the year. Before we flip the calendar, though, we’re bringing you the third installment in our February Black history reading series.
Today we are looking at all things protest—from small acts of resistance that haven’t made the news to the large ones that dominate history books, and from the parliaments of Jamaica and other Third World states to the playing fields of America’s favorite pastime. The events in today’s essays may vary in size, scope, and location, but all document Black struggles in their many varieties; against petrochemical companies, mass incarceration, corrupt landlords, and more. And of course, this is not to forget the uprisings of last year, to which we have devoted a whole section on our website.
In addition, we’ve highlighted our podcast, A People’s Anthology. Originally launched in 2019 as a benefit for members, we recently made it available to all Boston Review readers, as part of our commitment to no paywalls. A reading series of radical essays and speeches, season one highlights six short texts related to Black liberation struggles in the U.S., with many drawing on the urban rebellions of the 1960s and 1970s.
Introduced and explained by historians and researchers, the texts are then read by a range of poets, scholars, and spoken word artists. Among the voices are familiar Boston Review contributors such as Nikhil Pal Singh and Joshua Bennett, as well as noted writers Jackie Wang and Asad Haider. You can listen on Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Long before the Civil War, black abolitionists shared the consensus that violence would be necessary to end slavery. Unlike their white peers, their arguments were about when and how to use political violence, not if.