Archival Amnesty: In Search of Black American Transitional and Restorative Justice

Tonia Sutherland


Archives as memory institutions have a collective mandate to document and preserve a national cultural heritage. Recently, American archives and archivists have come under fire for pervasive homogeneity – for privileging, preserving, and reproducing a history that is predominantly white and further silencing the voices and histories of marginalized peoples and communities. This paper argues that as such, archives participate in a continuing amnesty that prevents transitional and restorative justice for black Americans in the United States. Using the history of lynching in America as a backdrop, this article explores the records and counter-narratives archives need to embrace in order to support truth and reconciliation processes for black Americans in the age of #ArchivesForBlackLives.


Archival Pluralism, Lynching, Amnesty, Transitional Justice, Restorative Justice, #ArchivesForBlackLives

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.