February 2021 – African American Deathways and Deathwork

In February 2021, in honor of Black History Month, #RadDeathReads used African American deathways to narrate the experience of Africans in American. This #RadDeathReads was curated by Dr. Kami Fletcher, President of CRDS.

The ways in which African Americans die can tell as much about an individual life as it can about our nation. The ways in which African Americans die can be used to illustrate how African American last rites, infused with the rituals from Mother Africa, were used to resist the institutionalized white supremacy that became so intertwined with deathways. Death for African Americans, although gut-wrenching, has always been used as a vehicle for freedom and justice. Whether pointing out how enslaved women and men staged a funeral to walk across to Canada or contemporary Black people politicizing their grief and mourning into grassroots change after the murder of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, death is even about humanity.

This February, while we celebrate Black History Month, join #RadDeathReads as we take this opportunity to use African American deathways to narrate the experience of Africans in Americans – from enslavement to our continuous fight to overthrow oppression and the celebration of all those brave souls who lost their lives in the fight for justice and equality.

WEEK 1 (Feb. 6 & 7): 
Racism, the American Plague That’s Been Killing Black Folks since 1619

WEEK 2 (Feb. 13 & 14): 
Black Ancestors Matter! Historic Black Burial Grounds as Places of Resistance and National Memory

WEEK 3 (Feb. 20 & 21): 
Not Jessica Mitford’s Funeral Directors: Race, Deathwork and Homegoings

WEEK 4 (Feb. 27 & 28): 
“Let the People See What They Did to My Boy” Gendered Politics of Black Grief and Mourning


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