Its a Black Twitter Thang! Pt. 2

Published On August 4, 2021 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis

A People’s History of Black Twitter

Originally published on

Rising Up, 2012–2016

Following the death of Trayvon Martin, Black Twitter launched an online campaign in support of Martin and his family. As outcry swelled, George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Martin, was arrested—laying the groundwork for what would become the biggest social justice movement of our time.

André Brock, author of Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures: A lot of early Black tech adopters were really skeptical of what Twitter could do. Even Black folk were like, this is not a serious place.

Tracy Clayton, host of the podcast Strong Black Legends: Once the newness of the platform wore off, I think it was more like, OK, what do we do with our voices now that we found them? The murder of Trayvon Martin is when I first saw Black Twitter’s potential, and the potential of Twitter, to create actual offline change.


Wesley Lowery, 60 Minutes+ correspondent: My first tweet about Trayvon Martin said, “Until a 17-year-old black boy can walk into any store in America to buy Skittles without being gunned down, we can’t stop talking about race.” It was one of those first instances of getting used to the idea that I could say things and those messages could find like-minded people to participate in this dialog that was bigger than myself.

Jamilah Lemieux, Slate columnist: If it weren’t for Black Twitter, George Zimmerman would not have been arrested.


Clayton: I remember watching the trial with Twitter. I remember watching Rachel Jeantel testify and my heart breaking for the situation that she was in. It was a great vehicle not only for social change but also for healing—being able to mourn and grieve and process with people. That’s what really changed my mind about what Twitter was for. I guess, for me, it was entertainment before.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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