Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

Black Lives Matter & The Medium of Comics/Comic Books

     The Black Lives Matter Movement has influenced every aspect of our culture. Whether it's #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter, a status on Facebook drawing attention to the movement, or a conversation between classmates about white privilege, the movement has created a dialogue both digitally and academically about the treatment of African Americans in a society that oppresses them. According to the Black Lives Matter website, one of the goals of the movement is “broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state [and discussing] the ways in which Black lives are deprived of basic human rights and dignity” ( In times of turmoil and racial injustice, the black community needs a hero that will stand up and defend them. Comic books have created heroes that stand specifically for black empowerment such as Luke Cage and the Black Panther . Other heroes such as Sam Wilson (the African American Captain America) and Miles Morales (the half Latino, half African American Spider-Man) were diverse reboots of their white predecessors. Regardless of what purpose they serve; black superheroes have created a discourse community for readers by providing representation of African Americans in an industry that is typically white washed. I want to explore the medium of comics and see how race and diversity are utilized in them. I’ll look into how comics create a space for black empowerment, and I will also look into the negative responses to diversity in comics. Since social movements and pop culture are not mutually exclusive, I would like to look into the effect that comics have on civil rights movements and vice versa, drawing on comics that were created specifically in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

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