In 2015, Black student movements emerged in the United States and South Africa, respectively: Black Liberation Collective and Rhodes Must Fall/Fees Must Fall. Existing research is taking notice of students’ frustrations with universities, by exploring their protests, which are centered on transforming higher education and decreasing tuition fees. The literature on student movements overlooks the role of identity politics in mass student mobilization. However, social media is exposing a trend of Black student activism in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Yet, academic accounts and articles focus solely on Black student movements within the confines of their nation-states or institutions. By conducting a comparative study, this research explores the political, social, and economic factors causing the resurgence of cross-institutional Black student activism. I combine my comparative study with content analysis and auto-ethnography to insert lived experiences of engaging in student activism at Macalester College and direct action alongside Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, to add my own subjectivity into my research. In this study, I found Black students in the United States and South Africa are discontent with the broken promises of neoliberal post-racial democracy, are frustrated with the colonial and racist culture embedded in universities, and so seek to repurpose universities while simultaneously fighting for racial liberation. Ultimately, I encourage Black activists to form transnational networks to aid each other in redressing contemporary Black struggles.
"Freedom Dreams Occur at the University: A Comparative Study of Black Student Activism in the United States and South Africa,"
Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities: Vol. 7:
1, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/tapestries/vol7/iss1/10
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