#BlackLivesMatter: Innovative Black Resistance Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 Eastern Sociological Society Since 2013, extrajudicial police killings of black people have captured the attention of U.S. and international media, substantially because of the work of leaders in the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) movement. #BLM is simultaneously a group of localized organizations and a broad online social movement. In this article, we examine the #BLM movement in detail, with particular emphasis on the following aspects of the movement: (1) its innovative organizational practices and social media use; (2) its accent on black perspectives (counterframing) of systemic racial oppression, heteronormativity, and capitalism; and (3) its broad emphasis on oppressed Americans, including black women and LGBTQ people. We also situate the #BLM movement within the surrounding system of racial oppression, including the historical role of racialized policing in maintaining social control of blacks. We detail the long tradition of black social movements, especially black feminist organizing, against systemic racial oppression. In doing so, we intend to contribute social movement theorizing that more fully considers powerful counterframed perspectives of black activists in U.S. social movements. Although the #BLM movement reflects black feminism and past civil rights movement struggles, it is a uniquely twenty-first-century social movement that uses new technologies for innovative social protest.

altmetric score

  • 3.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Nummi, J., Jennings, C., & Feagin, J.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • August 2019