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Historical Methods 2020

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Visual Works


Established in 1912, Whittier College has designated the Rock as an integral aspect of its campus lore. The Rock represents a “tight-knit community” in which the student body can emblazon messages on its surface, from the lighthearted to the socially-conscious. In an effort to protest Black American deaths at the hands of police and to protest deep-rooted structural racism within the college itself, students made their solidarity known by displaying the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on the Rock. This is one of many ways Black students have found to assert their voices on college campuses. However, an email from the Dean of Students and Vice President of Whittier College noted that the Black Lives Matter message on the Rock had been defaced by unknown perpetrators. Considering the significance the Rock holds as a symbol of unity, and the intersection between the pandemic’s devastating impact on communities of color with the social upheaval as a result of increased scrutiny of American institutional racism, we can speculate that this vandalism was a deliberate message to oppose social justice declarations such as Black Lives Matter.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.