Perspectives

Department of History issues statement of support

One of the most enduring themes in American history is the repeated, structural violence committed against Black people. The communities in which we all live are scarred by the psychic torment and bodily harm this violence inflicts on our Black neighbors, our friends, and our families. The profound terrors experienced by Black people in America have again been visibly and violently brought to our attention over the past several days. We mourn, among many others, the lives of

  Ahmaud Arbery

George Floyd

David McAtee

Breonna Taylor

They are just some of the most recent victims of anti-Black violence in the United States.

First as people, then as historians and teachers, we affirm that Black Lives Matter. We also want to make clear that violence orchestrated against peaceful protestors is not only harmful and counterproductive, but immoral, unethical, and unconstitutional. It damages our democracy, and must not be sanctioned or tolerated. We want to uplift the powerful work of communities in demanding justice for these and all victims of state violence and white supremacy.

But our words are not enough.  Action is required.  As such, our department commits our time and resources to the historic struggle of our present moment. We have read the demands of Auburn Students and Community for Change, and we pledge to do our part in fulfilling them. As a start, we will:

  • Hold yearly mandatory training for faculty and teaching assistants around equity, inclusion, and diversity
  • Assist in developing a mandatory first year course that addresses the deep histories of race, racial violence, and racial justice
  • Institute formal recruitment efforts for Black students at the undergraduate and graduate levels
  • Host a yearly departmental critical conversations series to promote discussion and to respond to student concerns over racial justice issues
  • Support and encourage the University’s creation of a faculty-student mentorship program for first year minority students on campus

Members of the Auburn History Department will also be making a financial contribution toward the formation of the Alabama Center for Reparative Justice, which is proposed to be a collaboration between Tuskegee University, Auburn University, and surrounding community organizations dedicated to healing the systemic harms of slavery, Jim Crow, and ongoing acts of racism. We hope that alumni, students, and friends with the ability to do so will pledge their support for organizations serving the immediate needs of the moment and fighting for structural change. 

Signed,

Members of the Auburn History Department

 

Gifts to the Alabama Reparative Justice Center can be made in these ways:

  • Venmo: @AlabamaCenter
  • Cash App: $AlabamaCenter
  • Checks, cash, stock, or wire transfers should be made out to “Tuskegee University” with “Alabama Center for Reparative Justice (Acct:R5405)” in the memo and sent to:

Alabama Center for Reparative Justice

c/o Professor Thierno Thiam

Tuskegee University College of Arts and Sciences

70-103 John A. Kenney Hall

Tuskegee, AL 36088

Email: AlabamaReparativeJustice@gmail.com

 

Other organizations that are always in need of support include:

Last Updated: June 25, 2020