The Politics of Safety by Shannon King, PhD: Book Launch, April 5

The Politics of Safety by Shannon King, PhD: Book Launch, April 5

Dr. Shannon King's and Dr. Kris Sealy's headshots

(l-r) Dr. Shannon King and Dr. Kris Sealy

Dr. King's groundbreaking new work delves into the intricate dynamics of police accountability and the Black struggle for safety in one of America's most iconic cities.

On Friday, April 5, from 5-7 p.m., the Humanities Institute will host a book launch and Q&A with Shannon King, PhD, associate professor of history. His groundbreaking new book,The Politics of Safety: The Black Struggle for Police Accountability in La Guardia's New York (University of North Carolina Press) delves into the intricate dynamics of police accountability and the Black struggle for safety in one of America's most iconic cities. 

The book launch event will take place in the Kelley Center Presentation Room and is free and open to the public. 

Dr. King, a distinguished historian renowned for his expertise in the Black freedom struggle outside the South —particularly New York City during the first half of the 20th century — brings forth a compelling narrative that challenges traditional understandings of urban policing and community activism.

For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, Dr. King argues, public officials in major cities like New York perpetuated narratives of Black criminality to justify harsh policing tactics. Through meticulous research, Dr. King reveals how liberal mayors like Fiorello H. La Guardia skillfully employed strategies that criminalized uprisings and marginalized Black voices calling for police accountability.

In The Politics of Safety, Dr. King uncovers the complexities of Black activism for safety, highlighting how the withholding of police protection amounted to a form of violence against Black communities and a violation of their civil rights. By shifting the focus away from familiar narratives of riots, Dr. King places Black activism against harm at the forefront of the Black freedom struggle, demonstrating how Black neighborhoods became occupied territories in La Guardia's New York.

Joining Dr. King for the launch event will be Kris Sealy, PhD, formerly of Fairfield University and currently a professor of philosophy at Penn State University. Dr. Sealy, known for her expertise in social movements and community politics, will engage Dr. King in conversation and co-lead a Q&A session.

Dr. King's previous work, Whose Harlem Is This, Anyway? received widespread acclaim for its insightful exploration of Black life in New York City. As an esteemed historian and educator, Dr. King's teaching and research interests encompass a wide range of topics, including Black freedom struggle, urban history, gender studies, and racial capitalism. Through his scholarship, he continues to shed light on marginalized narratives and redefine our understanding of American history.

Additionally, Dr. King was one of the featured experts on the 2022 PBS Series Making Black America: Through the Grapevine, a four-part series hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Book Launch: The Politics of Safety: The Black Struggle for Police Accountability in La Guardia's New York

Date: Friday, April 5, 2024
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Location: Kelley Center Presentation Room

Additional Details:

The event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow.

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