Quick Links

Black Lives Matter

The Black Education Free Encyclopaedia

black lives matter protest -shane-aldendorff

BLM is decentralized, meaning there is no single organization that runs or controls it. This has allowed the movement to remain dynamic, with many leading voices coming to the forefront over its history.

Though it has no central control, the movement has inspired and sparked the creation of several major organizations, including the Movement for Black Lives andBlack Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.

While the use of social media has defined its activity since the beginning, many BLM affiliated groups have engaged with electoral politics, community organizing, and overwhelmingly peaceful protest, as well as developing alliance networks that span the globe.

BLM began in 2013 with the hashtag #BlackLiveMatter used across social media platforms to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a Black American teenager.

With the rise of social media and the ubiquity of smartphones, more and more episodes of racist violence against Black Americans were recorded and quickly disseminated. #BlackLivesMatter, then, continually found use in expressing the rage and pain of people witnessing these acts.

In 2014, BLM protests of numerous police killings of Black Americans solidified the movement’s position as a new wave of Black Liberation.

This culminated in the protests against the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In August of 2014, BLM was integral to a “Freedom Ride” of over 500 protestors who visited the town, located outside St. Louis. As demonstrations went on, tensions continued to escalate and the situation became violent.

A state of emergency was declared. This led to the National Guard being deployed, with some troops referring to protesters as “enemy forces.” After the unrest, the Department of Justice conducted an investigation of the Ferguson Police Department and found excessive misconduct and discrimination against Black citizens. This included the city relying on police to create revenue through fines and charges, which were predominantly paid by the city’s Black residents.

Six prominent personalities at the BLM protests in Ferguson have since been found dead, some in circumstances that point to foul play. For instance, both Darren Seals and Deandre Joshua were found dead in burned cars. Still another, Danye Jones, reportedly committed suicide by hanging from a tree, but his mother claims that her son was murdered.

The movement continued to make regular appearances in support of Black communities rocked by police violence, and BLM actions were carried out extensively on the 2016 US Presidential campaign trail.

In the summer of 2020, BLM experienced a massive resurgence, leading protests across the country in the fallout of the police murder of George Floyd by officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, which was captured on a smartphone by a bystander. In the video, Floyd repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe,” while Chauvin kneels on his neck. The phrase “I can’t breathe” became a major slogan of the protests that ensued.

Through the summer, BLM supporters participated in over 7,000 protests, demonstrations, and actions. This helped sparked a campaign to defund the police — which included advocacy of a range of policy interventions including shifting funds from police to social services and, much less commonly, total police abolition. Over 60,000 National Guard troops were sent in response to BLM protests.

A Strike for Black Lives was held on July 20th, with thousands of workers raising awareness of police brutality and systemic racism with a single day walkout.

The BLM protests through the summer of 2020 led to an increase in popular support for the movement, as well as many politicians and corporations vowing to support the fight to end systemic racism — though some of this support is considered dubious by members of the movement.

Since it began, BLM has garnered widespread condemnation and criticism across the political spectrum, particularly on the far right. There have also been numerous disinformation efforts against BLM and its supporters.

After the deaths of two police during the BLM-led Ferguson protests, the phrase “Blue Lives Matter” became a popular pro-police slogan. It has since been used as a slogan for the movement to make targeting police officers, firefighters, and emergency service personnel a hate crime — which led to one such law passing in Louisiana in 2016.

The white supremacist and fascist organization National Front coined the phrase “White Lives Matter” in 2015 in response to BLM. This slogan has gone on to be used by the Ku Klux Klan and several neo-Nazi groups.

Some commentators have condemned violent actions at BLM-led protests, although evidence suggests they are overwhelmingly peaceful, with most violence at these events being perpetrated against protesters.

BLM has become a leading voice against systemic racism and police brutality in the US and around the world. It has proven itself able to quickly mobilize large numbers of people, due in large part to its decentralized structure and use of social media.

These powerful experiences of mass mobilization have made the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a touchstone for a new generation of activists. Through a diverse array of tactics, BLM supporters have built a historic movement that continues to the fight for Black Liberation into the 21st century.


This page requires content from various sources. If you are interested in providing content for this page please submit your request here.

This page was last updated on 17, March, 2022

Share This Article

Leave a Reply

Protesting Against Police Brutality

Say-His-Name - George Floyd-Say-Their-Name
Photo Credits: Gertie Angel

George Perry Floyd Jr. was an African-American man who was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest after a store clerk suspected Floyd may have used a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill, on May 25, 2020.

Other Famous Political Movements

The Civil Rights Movement – This was a protest on a large scale across the nation for equal rights for African Americans. It led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

The Black Power Movement – This movement began in 1964 to promote the rights of African Americans after the Civil Rights Act was passed to end segregation.

The Anti-globalisation Movement – a protest against the globalisation of corporations, which supporters claimed was widening the gap between the rich and poor worldwide.

The Gay Rights Movement – Supporters rally for acceptance and equality. A movement that has continued to grow exponential across the USA and internationally.

The Anti-war Movement –  Demonstrations and protesting has continued throughout the years with anti-war supporters petitioning for peace.

Women’s Suffrage – An important influence in the 19th Amendment in 1920 which granted women the right to vote.

The Boston Tea Party – A movement that changed history forever for the USA, after it fought England for its independence after a conflict over tea ownership. 

Black Lives Matter Resources