Robin Kelley

Black Bodies Swinging
  • Black Bodies Swinging

  • The police killing of George Floyd in May 2020 triggered a wave of protests like no other in history. Millions took to the streets in over forty US cities and across the globe in a multiracial, militant, and mobile uprising, calling not only for justice for all Black victims but for vast and visionary changes to police and social structures.

    How did we get here? Conducting a historical autopsy, Robin Kelley approaches the lives and deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, and so many others as a portal to the racist histories that strangled them and their communities. From the slave patrols and lynch law of the Deep South to segregated housing, the war on drugs, slum clearance, predatory lending, and extraction of wealth, Kelley draws a direct line from the "blood at the root"-the racial terror at the heart of the American social and economic order-to the latest casualties of that terror.

    This is also the story of Black resistance, of decades of organizing, political education, and movement building. The protesters who came out swinging, calling to defund the police, are part of a long line of combatants fighting to emancipate, democratize, and lay to rest the America as we know it so that a new world may be born.

RELEASED 06/06/2023

Robin D. G. Kelley is the author of the definitive biography Thelonious Monk, which received the PEN Open Book Award. The recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, Kelley is Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he resides.

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