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EIU Department of History



EIU History Department
Statement Regarding Racist Violence
Adopted August 18, 2020

The History Department faculty at Eastern Illinois University stands in solidarity with those who protest the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rashard Brookes, and the many other Black, indigenous, and people of color by police brutality. We understand that the racist violence enacted upon them results from both individual human agency and social institutions that were founded in part to support a system of racial inequality and white supremacy.

The American Historical Association recently issued a statement regarding a  “Sordid History of Violence in the United States.” It reads in part:

As a nation, we’ve shown a reluctance not only to learn our own history but to learn from it, which helps to explain why we continue to witness—and set aside as exceptional—egregious forms of human-rights abuses in case after case…We are killing our own people. Even as we mourn the death of George Floyd, we must confront this nation’s past; history must inform our actions as we work to create a more just society.

We the faculty of History at EIU affirm our responsibility as historians to interrogate and research the actors, actions, and social and political developments that produced white supremacy in the United States and abroad. We believe that “Black Lives Matter” must be said because throughout our nation’s past the opposite has held true. We are committed to educating our students about this history as we confront the nation’s past together. We also recognize that an important part of that responsibility is relocating the nexus of our historical narratives around the experiences of people of color, whose stories do not merely add to the master narrative, but rather reframe them.

We acknowledge that this work is difficult, painstaking, and to some, painful. As educators, we know that we must learn in order to teach, and we commit to educating ourselves through research and by applying our discipline’s best practices to develop anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy.  To that end, we pledge the following:

  1. As budgetary constraints and university procedures allow, we will make the hiring of Black, indigenous, and faculty of color a priority and we will support their success as teachers, scholars, and colleagues within our department.
  2. We will develop more courses that examine the histories of Black and indigenous peoples and people of color and examine our existing courses to assure that they give meaningful space to stories and voices of Black and indigenous people and people of color.
  3. We will adopt pedagogies that foster equity and inclusion in the classroom.
  4. We will continue to support and advocate for interdisciplinary minor programs in Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, Asian Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  5. We will develop and support campus programming that advances the campus community's understanding and knowledge of the histories of people of color and those of marginalized groups. We will also support efforts in the local community to promote racial and social justice.
  6. We will lend our disciplinary expertise to public reexaminations of place names, building names, and monuments as we collectively reckon with our nation’s racist past. (For we as historians understand the distinction between memorials and history.)

In a small step toward this mission, we offer the following resources for those seeking to educate themselves:

Ibram X. Kendi, The Anti-Racist Reading List:

Cambridge Core Reading List: Protests, Policing, and Race:

Statement of George Sánchez, Executive Board President of the Organization of American Historians:

Reading Towards Abolition: A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness, at Radical History Review

Statement of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association:

German Studies Association Statement of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee:

National Council on Public History’s statement regarding the killing of George Floyd:

Schomburg Center Black Reading List



Related Pages

Contact Information

History Department

2744 Coleman Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

Sace E Elder, Chair

2542 Coleman Hall

Brian Mann, Undergraduate Advisor

3721 - Coleman Hall

Lee Patterson, Graduate Coordinator

2572 - Coleman Hall

Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz
History with Teacher Licensure in Social Science Coordinator

2556 Coleman Hall

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