On June 17, 2015, nine people were shot to death at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The shooting was a racially motivated hate crime against black lives perpetrated by a young white man, Dylann Roof. In response to the news of the horrific event, historians, scholars, and non-academic readers alike took to Twitter under the hashtag #Charlestonsyllabus to amass a list of resources any person could turn to in order to educate themselves about the history of race and racial violence in America.
Dr. Keisha N. Blain, the co-founder of the #Charlestonsyllabus movement, keeper of the online syllabus, and author of the forthcoming book, Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence, visited Grinnell College to speak to the community in the college’s 2016 celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. Blain discussed the bridging of scholarship and activism and the immediate connections made possible by social media.
In response to Dr. Blain’s visit, Grinnell College Libraries has documented the locations and availability of the resources suggested in the #Charlestonsyllabus. The libraries have 228 of the 296 books and films listed on the #Charlestonsyllabus. The #Charlestonsyllabus is listed here in its entirety, with links to the catalog for the materials that our library currently owns. Many other resources are available through Interlibrary Loan.
The resources don’t end here, either. Look around in the stacks at the books surrounding the ones on this list, or think about additions you would make to it. The #Charlestonsyllabus was a community effort, one that required a deeper engagement than just consumption (although in a list of over 300 materials, consumption is a good place to start). Share your thoughts and opinions on the list and the readings with those around you and/or online.
And be sure to visit the #Charlestonsyllabus display, located between the Latino Collection and the jungle gym in the southwest corner of Burling Library.
#Charlestonsyllabus is found on the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) webpage.