History Repeats Itself

An American Protest

3 min read by Robert Castagna.
Published on .
Memorial to George Floyd, Nubian Square, Boston.

“History repeats itself” is a truism almost as old as history itself, and for a good reason. Patterns established early seem to absorb into the psyche of humanity for generations to come, playing out in societies repeatedly. America’s original sin, slavery, was embedded in our Constitution in a coded way, for the word never appeared there, yet the horrific practice was made lawful.

This constitutionally established racism still runs its course today: witnessed, recorded, and streamed to the public. The police violence has gone viral, again. This year, it’s the 8 minutes and 46 seconds of police brutality inflicted on George Floyd, caught on film by a 17-year-old girl, resulting in the occupation of the streets of America — by the protesters calling for justice. A perfect storm of politics, racism, and the pandemic.

Protester leading the march for justice in Boston.

As the protests progressed, I photographed the local Boston area movement on monochrome film, paying homage to the civil rights movement era and its documentary legacy. In doing so, I felt hopeful seeing the forward-looking youth taking charge of the streets, to make a positive change.

Black Lives Matter protester outside Boston City Hall.
Protesters with the American flag marching to the Boston State House.
Protesters holding signs in Nubian Square, Boston.
Protesters holding signs outside the Roxbury district police station in Boston.