RELG-313: Race, Ethnicity, and Religion

Document Type

Student Paper

Publication Date



African American Studies | Women's Studies

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

On July 13th, 2015, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was pulled over by a police officer in Waller County, TX, for failure to signal a lane change. Around six minutes later, Bland was being slammed and handcuffed to the ground. What happened in these six minutes that caused a minor traffic violation to escalate to what would later be three days in jail, concluding with Bland’s death? Hundreds of years of significations towards black women led to Sandra Bland’s arrest. However, at a time when Bland was perceived to be at her most vulnerable, she resisted. By intentionally not putting out a cigarette, she took back more than 400 years’ worth of agency for black women. Although the circumstances that led to her death in police custody are incredibly important, there will be more of a focus in this essay on the significations that resulted in her arrest and that were given to her after death, including the Black Church’s responsibility in responding to actions of injustice.


Prize Winner, 2016