Say Their Names: How Black Lives Came To Matter in America

Grand Central. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781538737828. $30. POL SCI
Five Black journalists—Bunn (NBC News), Nick Charles (Word in Black), Michael H. Cottman (NBC News Digital), Patrice Gaines (Laughing in the Dark), and Keith Harriston (GW Today)—reflect on the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement in this collection of essays. The book opens with a history of the movement and its founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors, and usefully covers the movement up to the present day, focusing on events in 2020–21, including the murder of George Floyd which sparked international protests. Essays address mass incarceration, medical malpractice, the wealth gap, police violence, and COVID-19’s disproportionate impacts on Black Americans; the authors explore the history of these topics, analyze the current landscape, and suggest avenues for change. Other chapters focus on politics and celebrate political achievements by Black Americans, particularly women. The essays can be read as standalone pieces, but it’s useful to have them in one volume.
VERDICT A thoughtful assessment of the Black Lives Matter movement that illuminates the work still left to do. Recommended for readers newly interested in antiracist activism.
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