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“Policing Black Bodies” A Talk!

Staff Report

Award-winning sociologists Angela Hattery and Earl Smith will speak about their 2021 book, Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change, at a event Monday, June 27, at 7 p.m. at Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Ave., and by Zoom.

The event is sponsored by Elders & Allies (E&A) to Free the People Roc (FTP) as a fundraiser.

Elders & Allies, led by James and Shirley Thompson was founded in the late summer of 2020, E & A’s mission is to support Free the People Roc as “elders”, i.e. mature and experienced people. In addition to supporting FTP, E & A works to uproot racism – systemic, institutional and personal.

“With bolder and more egregious instances of police brutality in recent years, the debate over funding for policing locally; gun violence resulting in 23 homicides already this year; memories of Daniel Prude’s police murder still fresh; the rise of white terrorism against Black bodies manifesting so close to us in Buffalo and our nascent Police Accountability Board still struggling to come into its rightful place, we feel a perspective like Smith and Hattery’s is sorely needed just now,” James Thompson of E & A said.

Hattery is professor of women and gender studies and co-director of the Center for the Study & Prevention of Gender-Based Violence at the University of Delaware. She is the author of 11 books.

Smith is emeritus Rubin professor of American ethnic studies and sociology at Wake Forest University and professor of women and gender studies at the University of Delaware. His teaching and research focuses on urban sociology, sociology of sport, criminal justice and race. He has written several books on the impact of social inequality on Black families, and his book Race, Sport and the American Dream, is the only book that examines structural racism in sports.

Smith and Hattery have written a number of books together and individually. Smith spent part of his early career at The College at Brockport. In Policing Black Bodies, the authors make a compelling case that the policing of Black bodies goes far beyond the news stories of police violence against individual Black people. Their book is a powerful call to recognize how Black lives are literally and figuratively surveilled in the broad systems of inequality in our society.

They connect the regulation of African Americans in schools, healthcare, and athletics, to the rise of prison industries, the inequitable treatment of Black women and trans people, to wrongful convictions and the challenges of exoneration.

The book concludes with specific recommendations for working to change our racist social structures.

Originally published in 2018, the book was updated in 2021 to address the alarming exacerbation of policing Black people. It is available locally at Hipocampo Books and at libraries.

To register for the presentation, go to: In-Person:, or for Virtual: