Black Lives Matter: Evidence that Police-Caused Deaths Predict Protest Activity
By Vanessa Williamson, Brookings Institution, Kris-Stella Trump, Social Science Research Council and Katherine Levine Einstein, Boston University
Since 2013, protests opposing police violence against Black people have occurred across a number of American cities under the banner of “Black Lives Matter.” We develop a new dataset of Black Lives Matter protests that took place in 2014–2015 and explore the contexts in which they emerged. We find that Black Lives Matter protests are more likely to occur in localities where more Black people have previously been killed by police. We discuss the implications of our findings in light of the literature on the development of social movements and recent scholarship on the carceral state’s impact on political engagement.