History and Activism
Activism is a central aspiration of The Activist History Review. By publishing historical scholarship that informs contemporary issues, we hope to illuminate people and processes that reinforced or rejected the power systems in American history. Sometimes these choices, like the passage of the Civil Rights Act, have inspired greater equality by challenging the legal and social structures in place, and as a result enhancing African Americans’ access to the vote, public schools, and the full rights of citizenship. Others, like the white strategy of Massive Resistance to integration, chose to reinforce existing exclusionary social and cultural structures, opting to close schools in some places rather than see them integrated.
Each generation has its faults and struggles; whether and how it corrects and surmounts those flaws is its epitaph. To forget the lessons of the past, to gloss over the inequities of our history, to pretend our national scars, stains, and untended tears do not exist, however, is no solution for contemporary success. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the claim to make America “great again” is the condemnation of the jagged realities and unequal experiences of the American past as either illegitimate or, worse still, “fake” history. Historians have a responsibility to act as the professional rememberers of societies. Often, it is a passive role, receiving, cataloguing, and combining the stories of many into a collective tale. Sometimes, when the past itself is under siege, historians are called into action.
We hope that TAHR becomes a place of dialogue between activists and academics where we can carry forward a common struggle against inequality and oppression. While our mission is rooted in scholarship, we understand that demanding change in the present requires a familiarity with the activist struggles of our own day. When historians write about the past, they reflect their present conditions. TAHR is a forum for doing this consciously and conscientiously.
Tell Your Story
Thus, we intend to publish the mission statements, testimonials, struggles, and triumphs of nonprofits and activists living the history historians will write.
We welcome submissions of this type from all groups. Activists organized around resisting an array of injustices or supporting a specific cause might write about local actions and events, campaigns, petitions, challenges and successes. Nonprofit social welfare organizations enmeshed in specific communities like Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles might write about their mission in relation to the struggles of a particular group of people. National or global organizations anchored to a larger cause or community might write about the importance of the movement, its goals in a shifting political landscape, or how petition Congress around a specific action.
We believe every group has a story to tell and we understand that each is unique. While we envision that the majority of these stories will probably be shorter, less than 1000 words, we are also aware that each situation is different and encourage activists and groups to think creatively about how we can best help spotlight their message and further their cause.
If you’re interested in telling your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch (max 250 words) and a short bio of no more than 100 words telling us about yourself.