Abolition Genealogy

Created by Mabel Smith, with the support of the Initiative for a Just Society and in collaboration with the ARTE team

As we present this educational resource, we want to open up a dialogue about the very notion of a genealogy or timeline. As brilliantly shared in Abolition. Feminism. Now. by Angela Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners, and Beth E. Richie:

 

"...[W]e start with a recognition that these overlapping histories of abolitionist and feminist movements are deeply intertwined, but they do not unfold alongside each other in neat chronological order.....We welcome other renditions of abolition feminism, and we contend that genealogies should always be questioned, because there is always an unacknowledged reason for beginning at a certain moment in history as opposed to another, and it always matters which narratives of the present are marginalized or expunged." 

 

For the purposes of our human comprehension, we present this resource as a genealogy/timeline, but also acknowledge that movements span decades, even hundreds of years: they loop back and forward in time and are not linear.

 

Furthermore, in our own studies, we are learning that a pillar of abolition is nonlinearity: centering “ecosystems” instead of set individual moments and celebrating collectivism over individualism.

 

We also acknowledge that this is an imperfect and ever-evolving genealogy. We hope it will be lovingly challenged, added to, and, first and foremost, used as a tool and resource for study, reflection, and action. Like abolition itself, we had to start somewhere. There is no better time than now. 

Special thanks to Mabel Smith, ARTE's Spring 2022 research assistant, for her brilliant, tireless, and invaluable work in bringing this genealogy to life, and to the Initiative for a Just Society; without their support, this project would not have been possible. 

For clickable links, you can view/download the genealogy as a PDF here.
Thoughts/feedback? Please email info@artejustice.org.

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