“Violence structures everyday life,” said Adriane Lentz-Smith to a crowd of about 50 UNC students and faculty in Chapman Hall Friday.
Lentz-Smith, a history professor at Duke University, gave a lecture for the Department of African, African-American and Diaspora Studies’ annual student research conference titled “‘The Laws Have Hurt Me’: State Violence and the Rebirth of White Supremacy.”
She began the lecture with the story of Sandra Bland — a 28-year old African-American woman who was pulled over for failing to signal while changing lanes and arrested after refusing to put out a cigarette. She was found dead in a Texas county jail three days after the arrest, on the morning of July 13, 2015, and her death was classified as suicide by hanging.
Lenz-Smith said these stories of police brutality reminded her of cases in the 1960s, before and during the Civil Rights Movement.
She said violence in the segregated South — implemented by police officers, politicians and bureaucrats — permeated the economy, domestic life, language and consciousness.