The Gotham Center stands with all victims of police violence and those on the frontlines demanding justice in this week’s protests. As a New York City organization, we mourn the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, and we reflect on the long history of New Yorkers who have died at the hands of the criminal justice system, in particular CUNY student Kalief Browder and Eric Garner, whose death so closely parallels that of Floyd.

As the only academic institution devoted to New York City history, we also see the very long hand of the past at work in today's news, in how municipal law enforcement became militarized and insulated from legal action, in how groups and neighborhoods have been criminalized, in how policing remains an ever-growing part of government budgets after decades of falling crime, even as other vital human services face cuts and privatization.

History also offers us examples of the transformative power of protest, and powerful visions of a more just future. As one small contribution to that process, we share this selection of past material on Gotham, our semiweekly digital publication, to help contextualize the present moment. And we raise our institutional voice to assert that Black Lives Matter!

Clarence Taylor's Fight The Power: African Americans And The Long History Of Police Brutality In New York City (podcast interview)

“Skull Trouble”: A Brief History Of Police Harassment Of Black New Yorkers
By Marcy S. Sacks

Police Brutality On The Streets Of New York, 1847
By Sean Dwyer Griffin

“[T]hey’re Knocking Down Negroes ‘Round Here": Public Racial Violence And Black Self-Defense In Early 20th Century NYC
By Douglas Flowe

World War I Preparedness And The Militarization Of The NYPD
By Matthew Guariglia

“Selling Service” And “Venting Your Spleen”: Anti-Vice Policing In WWII NYC
By Emily Brooks

Inventing, And Policing, The Homosexual In Early 20th C. NYC
By Hugh Ryan

Presumed Criminal: Black Youth And The Justice System In Postwar New York
By Carl Suddler (reviewed by Emily Brooks)

Managing Urban Disorder In The 1960s: The New York City Model
By Jarrod Shanahan and Zhandarka Kurti

“White Tigers Eat Black Panthers:” New York City’s Law Enforcement Group
By Jarrod Shanahan

The Rise And Fall Of The Young Lords
Johanna Fernandez (podcast interview)

Civilian Anticrime Patrols In 1970s New York: Crime, Self-Help And Citizenship In The Neoliberal City
By Joe Merton

Broken Windows Policing And The Orderly City: New York Since The Late Twentieth Century
By Themis Chronopoulos

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