Reflections on the historic U.S. civil rights era often conjure up images of the grandeur-scale marches during the 60’s era, restaurant sit-ins and civic uprising that played its role in advancing black America and cultivating support. Today, experts say the temperament of black activism is comparable, but takes place in digital spaces where young African-Americans share stories and invoke conversation about their struggles with friends and strangers.
Social media has become the tool of choice for African-Americans who are rallying support and a newfound understanding to their causes by spreading messages through their networks and watching them go viral. Twitter, YouTube, and most recently Tumblr, have become a popular springboard for young “activists”, even though some reject the label.
Several black students at Harvard University became the most recent topic in the national spotlight with their “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign. On Tumblr, the students can be seen in photos individually holding boards with various quotes and statements to draw awareness. The# ITooAmHarvard hashtag circulated throughout Tumblr and Twitter. The students’ various, tongue-in-cheek signs include statements such as “You don’t sound black … You sound smart.”, “’I’m not ‘pulling the race card.’ You’re just being racist.”, “Oh, I heard her say she was going to Harvard. I just assumed she misspoke. – white parent to my mother”. Their campaign garnered national media attention and coverage by The Boston Globe, USA Today, and Huffington Post amongst other major media outlets. (Black Voice News)