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Welcome to Wade in the Water

posted July 25, 2016

Welcome to Wade in the Water. We call ourselves an oral history project, but maybe it’s not quite fair to call it history as it’s happening.

Our goal is to track the effects of the contemporary Movement for Black Lives—from the moment Ferguson, MO erupted into protest over the shooting of Michael Brown—on individual Black lives. Through one-on-one interviews, we explore how it feels to be reading on our computer screens and watching on television events disturbingly similar to the Civil Rights protests some of us have only read about in textbooks. Some of our interviewees are activists, but many don’t identify as such. They are Black people from all walks of life who are all equally finding their place as the tide of history takes shape.

In December 2015, we produced a short magazine exploring the first year of the movement from the perspective of a few Black artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers—Wade in the Water: A Year of the Movement for Black Lives. In May 2016, we turned our attention to the race-related protests that had broken out at colleges across the country, speaking to student activists and African-American Studies professors for a second issue, Wade in the Water: The Master’s Tools.

On this site, you’ll find the extended text of the interviews in those zines, allowing a deep dive into individual thoughts and experiences throughout the growing movement.

Moving forward, we’ll be regularly publishing new interviews here, casting as wide a net as we can to capture the incredible variation of the Black experience.

We hope the snapshots gathered here will form a truly detailed and deeply personal picture of what it means to be Black in the United States today, cutting through the narrative of traditional journalism to reach the heart of these issues: individual lives.