The current socio-political climate in the United States has fostered a renewed awareness of the divisive complexities of social injustices that have disproportionately impacted African American communities. For many African Americans, recent voting rights legislation, economic and educational inequalities, environmental racism, police brutality, incarceral punishment, and food injustices have considerably challenged their perceptions and performances of their national citizenship. The pages that constitute this site thus examine the birth and viability of historical and contemporary African American-led social justice initiatives that combat these threats to their personhood. They also explore the strategies deployed by African Americans in realizing their activist goals.  Ultimately, this site illuminates the meanings and importance of advocating for social justice in the twenty-first century.

The contributors to this website are students at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania who explored, through service learning, the ways that local community organizations, the Hope Station, the YWCA, and the Carlisle Victory Circle, have developed or are creating programs that seek to empower the African American citizens of Carlisle.  Throughout the semester, students enrolled in the course, Social Justice in the African American Imagination, completed projects that focused on three social justice themes: “Claiming Citizenship, Reclaiming Histories”, “Empowering the People”, and “The Power of Artistic Expressions in Social Justice Work.”  Under these thematic headings, the students have shared their reflections and project outcomes relating to Carlisle’s Black history, the development of youth education and nutrition programs, as well as the role of art and poetry in social justice movements.

We hope that you enjoy the outcomes of our research and service learning!