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By Any Means Necessary: Documenting Black Protest in the Schomburg Center: Home

This research guide highlights collections that document slave revolts and other forms of protest led by the Black community.

By Any Means Necessary

We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary. Malcolm X, 1965

From Revolts to Protests

The Black community is resilient. We have long fought for our own freedom from breaking the chains of enslavement to demanding an end to systematic racism that has long resulted in the policing and murder of Black people around the globe.

While there are many types of protest, including marches, boycotts, strikes, kneeling, rallies, and riots, all are actions from the protesting community that signal that they are done participating within previously accepted systems of power and government; systems that have legislated the community's place as second class citizens to those who hold the power, and create the rules.

Researchers are encouraged to use this guide to navigate through archival and secondary source materials housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the New York Public Library. The following sources are a fraction of those available that tell the stories of Black people in protest.

Institutional Racism Explained

Institutional Racism is a phrase first used and popularized by Stokely Carmichael (also known as Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton in their book, Black Power: The Politics of liberation in America, published in 1967. It is defined as a form of racism embedded deeply in the fabric of society so that it appears to be a normal practice.

Revolts lead by enslaved people and Black protest challenge the normalization of institutional racism. These acts refuse to accept white supremacy and demand true equality, equity, and sometimes, reparations.

You Can Jail A Revolutionary, But You Can't Jail The Revolution

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "You Can Jail A Revolutionary, But You Can't Jail The Revolution" New York Public Library Digital Collections.