How does one go about a project to learn about American black-white race riots? One answer is that you just jump in. You just get started. For me, that first step is to figure out the scope of the project.


Number of incidents that this project will cover.


How sure I am that this list will change.


I have a confession.

I am a little afraid of this project.

I know that I cannot unlearn whatever I learn as I explore the topic of racial violence. I also understand my own tendencies. A poem that I wrote several years ago turned into a project to read a biography of each United States President. 2-3 years later, I finished that project and still wasn’t done with the presidents, so I have spent nearly the past two years inventing cupcakes about them. Some projects grip me for years at a time. This could very well be one of those projects.

I am a bit worried about  the space that this project will consume. I have already spent hours on this project. Out of those hours I barely have a plan. I don’t know what this will look like. These are the types of things that I like to know before I embark upon a project.

It seems rather appropriate, however, that educating oneself about the long history of American black and white race riots would entail some entropy, no?

I suspect that this project will morph as I learn more and I am resolving to be okay with that. This is a project about educating myself.

But for now, I have put up some basic ground rules for myself.

Based on a couple of sources, yes Wikipedia is one of them, I have composed a list of race riots to explore.

I’ve numbered them.


The chance that I will add to or subtract from this list of events.

I will use a random number generator to determine the order of my learning.

I will research these events as I move through this project. It’s likely that I’ll share other things I learn along the way as I go through this process. This blog serves as a record of this experience.

I haven’t been this excited about a project since I started Head of State Cakes.

Let the learning begin!


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