On the Killing of George Floyd and Racism

June 4, 2020

For eight minutes and forty-six seconds on May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was choked to death by a uniformed police officer of the city of Minneapolis. In repeating in his last breath Eric Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe”, George Floyd invoked a long history of state complicity and everyday violence inflicted on African Americans.  The impunity with which the police conducted this public lynching, and the state’s deployment of the police and National Guard against civilian protest in its aftermath, is enabled by the deep and strong hold of racism, majoritarianism, and violence in the United States.

The members of the MIT History Faculty condemn this racialized violence against people of color as historians, teachers, and members of the public. We are committed to fight against the most visible and grotesque spectacles of white supremacy and to being vigilant against the invisible, insidious racism that silently seeps into our institutions and communities.  We do so in our classrooms, as exemplified by the MIT and Slavery Project, which has explored the impact of slavery on the history of the Institute.  We do so as public intellectuals, as in this reflection by Professor Malick Ghachem at MIT’s recent Community Vigil. And we do so in our research and writing on the history of racism and inequality in many past times and places. Individually and collectively, we affirm - and insist - that Black Lives Matter.

The MIT History Faculty offers these resources below to reflect on, act upon, and support and amplify within your communities.



MIT Black History

MIT & Slavery Project

MIT Community Vigil in the Wake of the Killing of George Floyd

MIT Community Vigil Resources

Letter from MIT Police Chief John DiFava


Read and Listen 

American Historical Association Statement on Racist Violence in the United States (June 4 2020)

Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus 

Asian-American Complicity in Racism 

The Anti-Apartheid Struggle in South Africa, 1912-1992 

Anti-Racism Resources

A Reading List on Policing, Rebellion, and the Criminalization of Blackness

The National Museum of African American History and Culture's "Talking About Race" portal 

South Asians for Black Lives 


Local Action

Local Donations

Register to Vote in Massachusetts



South Asians in Defense of Black LIves

The Fire This Time: Race at a Boiling Point