A painting: a short person holds a protest sign as they stand in front of a fence. Above the fence is a starry night sky.

Many headlines in 2020 spoke of two pandemics: covid-19 and white supremacy. These stories highlight various forms of protest, from candlelight vigils for those killed by police to students fighting for more inclusion in their classrooms.

In the early 20th century Andrew Powell lived in North Carolina with his wife Melissa and their children. Due to his position as being a Black landowner, a dispute with some white neighbors escalated to the point where a group of white men were prepared to beat and lynch Powell. His son, Raymond Powell, stepped in, feigned his father's insanity, and had him institutionalized at an asylum to save his life. This is an act of care, a protest, a subversion of a system predicated on Black death. 

Health, Protest

African women braided rice into their or their children’s hair before the Middle Passage or before the separation between plantations so that they had some food to carry with them. This tradition brought African rice varieties to the Americas to become a staple crop before Asian rice varieties became widely cultivated. It also allowed enslaved Africans to cultivate it as a food source for themselves, then eventually for the plantations they arrived at.

Arts, Protest, Foodways

The Detroit Black Community Food Share Network is an organization founded in 2006 to combat food insecurity in the predominantly Black communities of Detroit. The DBCFSN hopes to encourage black people to take up more active leadership roles in the food security movement. They operate seven acres of a farm where a variety of produce is grown and maintained along with other resources such as beehives, a rainwater retention pond, and a solar energy station.

Foodways, Protest, Education

DC activist group Long Live GoGo organized a protest outside of United Medical Center in Ward 8 to advocate for current issues in DC. The protest attracted a large number of people and featured go-go bands playing music in between speeches calling for community support in local government. The protest organizers used the breaks in between performances to promote United Medical Center and advocate against budget cuts to the hospital, help Banneker Academic High School and push against budget cuts to public schools in wards 7 and 8, and advocate for the inclusion of go-go music and culture in the school curriculum and societal acceptance in Washington DC.

Arts, Protest, Health

Noel Day, staff members from the local Roxbury community, and student volunteers from Havard came together to form the Boston Action Center. The Center used a strategy of organizing across class rather than race in order to bring poor Black and white community members together against mechanisms of systemic oppression in Boston like food insecurity amongst mothers on welfare support, urban renewal, etc.

Protest, Protest

The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer was perhaps the most ambitious extended campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement. Over the course of roughly two months, more than 1,000 volunteers arrived in Mississippi to help draw media attention to the state’s Black freedom movement, to register African American voters, and to teach in Freedom Schools that were established to supplement the inferior educational opportunities provided to black youths in the state’s public schools.

Education, Protest

Black students at Dartmouth held a protest demonstration following the murder of Rodney King. Students occupied the Green, holding signs with protest slogans.

Protest, Protest

Black students of the Afro-American Society and other students within the Dartmouth Community for Divestment (DCD) at Dartmouth College held a protest demonstration against Dartmouth's investment in companies supporting Apartheid in South Africa. Students set up shantytowns on the green with tents and wooden shacks, posting signs outside of them with various protest slogans and occupying the green between November 1985 to January 26, 1986, when members of the Dartmouth Review destroyed the towns with sledgehammers.

Protest, Protest

Phildelphia COFO workers hosted a food and clothing driving, acquiring two and one-half tons of food and clothing sent from Cleveland, Ohio to distribute to local Black members in Neshoba County. The militancy of pro-segragation, racist white groups deterred a large crowd from gathering at the distrbution site, but Black community members were still able to receive the resources.

Foodways, Protest

Black civil rights leaders in the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and other organizations organized the first Freedom Day in Philadelphia, PA on September 14, 1964. COFO members and local Black community members organized a motorcade to the Neshoba County courthouse to register to vote. The local sheriffs intentionally did not show up to the courthouse, allowing an outraged white crowd to harass and assault the registrants.

Protest, Protest