In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King reminded us that our lives begin to end on the day we stop speaking out about things that matter.
As the professional home of scholars of history and culture, the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) recognizes that racism is not just a thing of the past. In the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd and the protests that have occurred throughout the United States, we stand in solidarity with all of those who want peaceful and harmonious communities, equal treatment for all, and an end to racial injustice.
Racism is a pattern of thought and behavior that repeats itself throughout history. As archaeologists of the recent past, we study archaeological and heritage sites that represent the physical and material results of inequality. We strive to document and explain how racial injustice erodes societies and how the legacy of bigotry is sustained despite the foresight gifted by the past. As conservators of the past, we have the capacity and responsibility to create a culture that recognizes and roots out inequality. We understand that history shapes the present.
Former President of the SHA, Joe Joseph called for us to “…use the sites and artifacts in your life and work to reach out to the public, to remind them that we are all part of a human continuum, that our appreciation of the past grounds us in the present, and that respect for the heritage of all provides us with the framework to build a better future” (Our Challenges and Mission, January 28, 2016).
We take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the fight against racism, protecting the heritage and past of all, and using our work as a foundation for building a better present and future.