Travyon Martin Anthology

Edited by George Yancy and Janine Jones.

On February 26, 2012, 17-year-old African American male Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old biracial (Caucasian and Peruvian) male in Sanford, Florida. Martin was shot and killed within a gated community, where he was visiting his father, Tracy Martin, and the latter’s fiancé. Martin, returning from a store where he had purchased a bag of Skittles and a bottle of Ice Tea, was unarmed. The encounter between Martin and Zimmerman proved fatal for Martin. As for Zimmerman, 45 days passed before he was charged with any crime. Pursuing Trayvon Martin: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Manifestations of Racial Dynamics attempts to capture what we, a critical cadre of scholars, think about this potentially volatile situation in the moment. The text addresses issues across various thematic domains, as we have delineated various concerns that are broad and yet relevant. Some of these themes include: how Trayvon Martin’s killing might be depicted within the specifically historical context of racism, especially as some have compared Martin’s situation to that of Emmett Till and Rodney King; how contemporary conceptions/perceptions and treatment of Black bodies and/or black embodiment from the historical perspective of white supremacy in the United States continue to function or not function in our contemporary moment; how we ought to think about the political and legal implications of the Trayvon Martin case within the context of the politics and laws that have historically informed and shaped black people’s lives; how we should think critically about the historical exclusion of black bodies/embodiment in public space and the ramifications for the ways in which black people must navigate public space today; and, finally, how we should think about the ways in which the historical negative gendering of black girls and boys/black men and women, with respect to their white counterparts, in a white supremacist society, have impacted various intersections of race and gender in our contemporary setting.

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