On May 25, an unarmed George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. The horrific video of Floyd’s death circulated on social media and spurred a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations across the country.
While Floyd’s death represented a tipping point, it was just one of many instances of racist violence against Black people in recent months. The killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have also fueled activism, and demonstrations remain ongoing.
For educators, researchers, and archivists, the surge of local and national activism has posed several important questions: Who is documenting this activism? How are we preserving the voices of Black activists? How will this story be told in the future?
In response to these questions, UNC Greensboro has launched the Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection to document the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality protests, and race relations in the Triad region of North Carolina.
I was driving down Elm Street and saw the paintings and murals. I’m always thinking about collections and preserving the voices of Black people, and I started thinking, what’s going to happen with this art?” said Green, professor and former director of UNCG’s African American and African Diaspora Studies Program.
Green connected with the University Libraries team – Associate Professor and Digitization Coordinator David Gwynn, Assistant Professor and Curator of Manuscripts Stacey Krim, and Associate Professor and University Archivist Erin Lawrimore – and started thinking through the best ways to formally document the movement. The solution was a new collection of both digital and physical materials that would help serve the community, educators, and researchers for years to come.