The Legacy of Racial Violence

Led by Christian Davenport

Dec 2021 – Nov 2025

After the killing of George Floyd on the 25th of May 2020, Black Lives Matter protests swept across the world. While the killing of Black men and women by police receives the bulk of attention, there are parallel calls to address how hundreds of years of racial violence affects contemporary inequalities between and within communities. Yet, our understanding of the deep roots of inequality still lacks comprehensive data coverage, appropriate testing, and a theoretical understanding of the broad effects of past racial violence. 

The LEGACY project seeks to address gaps in our understanding of the long-term effects of past racial violence on contemporary communities – particularly economic, political, and health inequalities between, as well as within, Black and white communities in the United States. Of equal importance, we are interested in understanding how communities mitigate the long-term effects of racial violence. We consider the legacy of violence as being not only its direct detrimental effects but also the process by which communities address aftereffects through restorative acts. 

We use multiple approaches combining large data sets, statistical analysis, and qualitative data, ensuring a complementary approach to identify general patterns across the US as well as test why inequalities persist.

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