Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Black Lives Matter Beyond America's Big Cities

| July 08, 2020

Monkey Cage Blog

Here's the new geography of youth activism

The demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd have seen millions of Americans take to the streets on bicycles, horses, surfboards and boats, skateboards, in cars or on foot. It is the largest sustained mobilization in the United States in our lifetimes.

Data from the Crowd Counting Consortium gives a sense of the scale of these protests. So far, we've counted 5,000 individual anti-racism/anti-police-brutality protests nationwide since the end of May, involving millions of participants. In fact, data from Pennsylvania (which we have studied most intensively) suggest that our national count still underestimates the number of protests in small cities and towns. The real national total may be as high as 8,000. Here are some key findings so far.

Anti-racism protests are wider than the tea party and anti-Trump 'Resistance' protests

From the end of May through June, more than 400 anti-racism protests were held in Pennsylvania alone, across at least 230 different communities in 62 of the state's 67 counties. By comparison, Tax Day 2009 saw foundational tea party protests in 29 communities in Pennsylvania, while January 2017 saw Women's Marches in 24 communities. In this wave, Black Lives Matter protests were held in 40 communities in Pennsylvania in just a single day (June 6). Moreover, the protests are not just concentrated in metropolitan suburbs. That's different from the grass-roots groups founded in response to Donald Trump's election, largely by college-educated women....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Putnam, Lara, Jeremy Pressman and Erica Chenoweth.“Black Lives Matter Beyond America's Big Cities.” The Washington Post, July 8, 2020.

The Authors

Erica Chenoweth