America on Fire
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“An indispensable account of the devastating cycle of police violence.” — Jill Lepore, bestselling author of These Truths
Evening’s Moderator: Courtney Daniel, creative strategist and recipient of the 2020 Seacoast Leaders Award
What began in spring 2020 as local protests in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police quickly exploded into a massive nationwide movement. Millions of mostly young people defiantly flooded into the nation’s streets, demanding an end to police brutality and to the broader, systemic repression of Black people and other people of color. To many observers, the protests appeared to be without precedent in their scale and persistence. Yet, as the acclaimed historian Elizabeth Hinton demonstrates in America on Fire, the events of 2020 had clear precursors—and any attempt to understand our current crisis requires a reckoning with the recent past.
Presenting a new framework for understanding our nation’s enduring strife, America on Fire is also a warning: rebellions will surely continue unless police are no longer called on to manage the consequences of dismal conditions beyond their control, and until an oppressive system is finally remade on the principles of justice and equality.
Elizabeth Hinton is an associate professor of history and African American studies at Yale University and a professor of law at Yale Law School. The author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, she lives in New Haven, Connecticut.