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The Trayvon Martin in US

An American Tragedy

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Edited By Emmanuel Harris II and Antonio D. Tillis

The events surrounding the Trayvon Martin murder, trial and acquittal bring to public and private discourse the violent, brutal murders of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. King, while bringing back to memory the racially provoked murders of Black American and Black immigrant men such as Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant and more recently, Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. The name of Trayvon Martin has become trope in the 21 st century, which crystallizes US racial politics regarding Blackness, specifically the Black male: a metaphoric symbol of this history of America’s regard for Black bodies, as well as a metonym, a name that has become a contemporary substitute for terrorist attacks targeting Black bodies. The works included here imply that Trayvon Martin, as trope, reverberates in the most conscientious of ‘US’; and, this epic tragedy is one that has plagued ‘US’ since Africans and people of African descent first arrived to the Americas. The essays range from the profoundly personal to the thoroughly investigated, and conclude with the statement from President Barack H. Obama in the epilogue. The Trayvon Martin in US is essential reading for anyone who is involved in race relations or teaches the topic.
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Contributors’ Biographical Information

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Deborah A. Brunson, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). She has also served as director of UNCW’s Upperman African American Cultural Center. Brunson’s teaching revolves around courses in Communication Theory, Interracial Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and the department’s Discipline Capstone. In addition to her work appearing in such outlets as Communication Education and The Journal of Leadership Studies, she is co-editor of two volumes: Letters From the Future: Linking Students and Teaching With the Diversity of Everyday Life, and Interracial Communication: Contexts, Communities, and Choices.

Theodore W. Burgh, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His research journeys have connected him with numerous peoples and cultures throughout the world. Through establishing relationships with various individuals, these relationships have challenged him to explore how many groups navigate the world in which they live. A number of challenges faced by people he met were familiar. Having grown up in central North Carolina, like many of the people he’d met, Burgh had a number of experiences with racial prejudice, profiling, etc. Although these were unwelcome events, each has helped him ← 181 | 182 → understand the world in which he lives, as well as the challenges of others. They have also given him a desire to educate others regarding this kind of thinking and to be an effective agent of change.

Todd Steven Burroughs, Ph.D...

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