Mission Statement

The editorial team at Picturing Black History recognizes the importance of Black history as a subject of academic knowledge and a source of African diaspora identities. We embrace the power of images to capture stories of oppression and resistance, perseverance and resilience, freedom dreams, imagination, and joy within the United States and around the globe.

Picturing Black History emerged in the wake of national and international Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in 2020. We recognize that Black Lives Matter is a contemporary outgrowth of a long history of Black racial protest in the United States. Picturing Black History is our collaborative effort to contribute to an ongoing public dialogue on the significance of Black history and Black life in the United States and throughout the globe.

What is Black History?

Black History is a body of historical knowledge that enriches the liberation struggles of Black folks.

Since at least the 19th century in the Americas, historical thinkers used the term “Negro History” (today known as “Black History”) to interpret the relevance of the African past to the specific conditions of contemporary Black life. Successive generations of Black folk engaged in this grassroots intellectual and cultural work often without the resources provided by academic training or university affiliations.


It is our intent to extend the work of these pioneering generations. In our efforts to amplify Black histories in a digital format, we join an expansive and vibrant landscape sustained by many: public libraries and historical societies, museums and cultural organizations, academic institutions and digital humanities projects.