Throughlines: Social Injustice and Activism Los Angeles


Protesters' shouts of "no justice, no peace" ring out over the rows upon rows cars forced a standstill on the 405, one of Los Angeles’ busiest highways, on a July night in 2016. This recent protest by Black Lives Matter is notable and representative of an emergent social movement strategy. More than more than half of the 1400 protests relating to Black Lives Matter movement in nearly 300 U.S. and international cities from August 2015 to November 2015 effectively shut down transportation infrastructure (Badger, 2016). This contemporary activist practice is as a logical tactic that shares roots with the historical occupations of schools, restaurants and administrative offices that occurred during protests in the civil rights movement in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, as an earlier generation of activists rallied against racial segregation. Contemporary highways are historically situated sites of contestation in which previous generations of racialized communities have paid the high price for Los Angeles’ development into a renowned center of both commerce and culture.Through this project we demonstrate why Los Angeles highways have become a productive site of protest, as well as provide an easily accessible digital archive of materials related to activism in Los Angeles to inspire and inform contemporary activists, researchers, and students.

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