Recovering Freedom Dreams: Black Lives Matter and New Visions of Black Liberation in Minnesota


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships


American Studies


Since 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been a key site of Black Lives Matter (BLM) organizing. Facing repeated police killings of Black men, local activists–led by Black women and femmes–first pushed for police reform and then police abolition. While scholars have begun to document the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), few studies have examined Minnesota. This dissertation is a qualitative investigation on Black Minnesotans’ emancipatory visions and their role in local BLM organizing. How has witnessing or participating in nearly a decade of community-wide responses to police killings influenced how Black Minnesotans, including myself, reflect and experiment with freedom? Data collection from my dissertation will be converted into a digital humanities resource to showcase that even though Minneapolis and society writ large have not implemented police abolition, there are national and global implications of Black Minnesotans’ radical imagination and visionary organizing.