criminal, injustice, racism, Civil Rights, media


Since the mid-20th century, media outlets have driven publicity for newsworthy events and shaped content for their receptive audiences. Commonly, massive movements seek publicity to attract attention and participation for protests, demonstrations, slogans, and unfortunate events. For instance, the black freedom struggle of the 1950s through the 1970s took advantage of their traumatic narratives of oppression to attract national and international attention. Many African Americans who experienced dastardly components of a racist criminal justice system were, in turn, earning respect and power from their freedom-seeking counterparts by commodifying the emotion that fueled black liberation efforts.[i] Media, therefore, became a tool for exposing the nation to racist law enforcement and legal action. Ultimately, black freedom struggle activists deployed media depictions of their policing, arrest, and imprisonment to be used as movement publicity, earning increased participation and advancing movement motives through this subsequent growing interest.

[i] Colley, Zoe A. Ain't Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement. University Press of Florida, 2012. 4.