UNCG Magazine

Tara Green teaches groundbreaking “Black Lives Matter” course, again

Dr. Tara T. Green’s Black Lives Matter course, introduced in Spring 2015, was apparently the first in the nation.

The students, mostly juniors and seniors, are eager to learn, discuss, read, and delve into the impact of racism and other essential topics facing African Americans.

The Linda Carlisle Excellence Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies and former director of the African American and African Diaspora Studies Program, Green is teaching it again this semester. She was compelled to create it in 2015 after hearing about Michael Brown being killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014. She notes that Brown had planned to attend college that fall.

“The course offers a safe space for students to analyze what is going on – the power and politics. And where they can consider solutions to certain problems.”

One topic the students want to examine: the fear. “It’s a deeply entrenched emotion. It’s the fear of death at any moment.”

You can be asleep in your home as Breonna Taylor was, or jogging on the
street near your house as Ahmoud Arbury was, and shot dead, she explains.

Her most recent book is “Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song.” In the horrific middle passage of the
Transatlantic slave trade, Black lives were valued – as a commodity. “The bodies would be recorded, those bodies were insured. The cargo was insured,” she notes. She ties recent history to earlier decades and centuries.

She is now working with UNCG’s University Archives to preserve images and voices of the Greensboro protests and BLM-related art from last summer.

It’s part of history. Just as is the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, shot seven times in the back – as Green held the first week of the class online, due to the pandemic.

She says, at times, teaching the class is an emotional experience as well.

“It’s a shared moment,” she says about teaching this semester. The news each week informs the class readings and discussions. “There is no training for teaching in the middle of a movement.”

Learn about University Libraries’ Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection.

By Mike Harris


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