The Movement for Black Lives and Transitional Justice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Transitional justice is the process of dealing with wrongdoing committed in the context of conflict or repression for the sake of recognizing victims, holding perpetrators to account, and, most fundamentally, contributing to societal transformation. This paper considers, from the perspective of transitional justice, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL). The author’s analysis is comparative. Specifically, the focus is on the armed struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and the pursuit of transitional justice in the aftermath of apartheid’s end with the civil rights movement in the United States. Although the achievement of transitional justice in South Africa is unfinished in important respects, explicit steps in that direction were made in South Africa that were not made in the United States. This account conceptualizes M4BL in the United States in part as a response to the absence of transitional justice in this context, and as calling for mechanisms of transitional justice to address explicitly past wrongs as part of the pursuit of broader societal transformation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Movement for Black Lives
Subtitle of host publicationPhilosophical Perspectives
EditorsBrandon Hogan, Michael Cholbi, Alex Madva, Benjamin S. Yost
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780197507773, 9780197507810
StatePublished - 2021


  • transitional justice
  • structural injustice
  • civil rights movement
  • South Africa
  • apartheid
  • Jim Crow
  • reparations


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