When something as violent, hateful, and tragic as the June 17th shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church takes place, it can be difficult to know how to respond and move forward. For many, this act of terrorism evoked a long history of racial conflict and violence, and to engage in conversations about the current state of race relations, we all need to have this historical perspective. Within days of the massacre, academics, educators, librarians, and activists were sharing resources on social media connected with the hashtag CharlestonSyllabus. Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and African-American studies at Brandeis University and one of the founders of the hashtag, speaks to the value of this movement:
What quickly emerged in just two days was a diverse community of people from a variety of professions, with divergent levels of historical expertise, all sharing a desire to educate, learn and challenge the prevailing discourse about race stemming from the Charleston tragedy…This endeavor is a work of serious historical scholarship firmly rooted in the African American intellectual tradition.
These resources have been collected by the African American Intellectual History Society, an organization founded in January 2014 to foster dialogue about researching, writing, and teaching black thought and culture. The #Charlestonsyllabus page is an extraordinary collection that includes many primary sources available online as well as books and articles you can find or order through the Moraine Valley library.