In the year since Donald Trump won his bid to become President of the United States on November 8, 2016, many of us have searched for a way to resist the forces his victory unleashed. This website was started in part as a response to those forces. Guided by the principle that an understanding of the past is necessary to move forward, we have attempted to provide a platform that fosters open discussion about the role of historians as interpreters of the present.
The building intensity of public events since the 2016 election has made that discussion more and more pressing over the past year. In our most recent issue, “The Road to Charlottesville,” we explored some of the deepest insecurities of American whiteness and masculinity through the lens of recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia over the removal of Confederate monuments. The events in Charlottesville, exacerbated by the rise of Donald Trump, not only highlighted the need for a more nuanced understanding of our shared past, they also demonstrated the profound influence our interpretations of the past have over our lives in the present. Our hope at The Activist History Review is that we can continue to provide a space where historians can explore the past in ways that foster positive change in the present.
It is with that hope in mind that we offer our retrospective on the year since Donald Trump’s election. The two articles in this series offer a glimpse into the efforts some of us have made to resist the worst excesses of his presidency, and the role history has played in shaping our responses. As historians, we have an obligation to speak truth. As citizens, we have an obligation to speak truth to power. This series documents both.