Documenting Black Lives Matter
The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2013 after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Since that time, the movement has become nationally recognized for bringing attention to incidents of violence against African Americans. The year 2020 saw some of the largest protests in American history following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. These protests even reached Arkansas when thousands of people around the state protested against systemic injustice and the mistreatment of African Americans.
The CALS Butler Center seeks to document and preserve this important movement. We want to make sure that these voices of change and stories of courage are not only preserved, but that they can also be used as tools for us to gain a better understanding of our community and our nation’s history.
According to the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago, “In documenting protests and movements for social justice by, and in alliance with Black people, archives and collections can help preserve records of resistance to racial oppression that inform our past, present and future. As we try to find a way forward, we should look to the past for lessons learned in the fight against racism. And as we try to find a way forward, we should capture the lessons of today to help guide us forward tomorrow.”
We encourage members of our Central Arkansas community to document their experiences related to the Black Lives Matter movement. We are hoping to collect a variety of material including, but not limited to, photographs, poetry, oral history interviews, artwork, and video. Some examples might be photographs of marches, protest signs, or street art. We are also interested in having people conduct oral histories in order to share their more in-depth experiences.