EDITOR’S ESSAY: Black Lives Matter

The unique collections housed at the CRL incited us to declare that we have access to 400 years of African American History. These collections of human skeletal and dental remains from the 17th through 20th centuries also remind us that Black lives matter. Through a systematic study of the biohistories of those housed in the CRL, we are able to elucidate the quality of their lives, their adaptive and non-adaptive responses to the societies they lived in, and we are able to enumerate how they survived and, in many cases, prospered.

Research takes resources. The most profound resource we have at the CRL are its collections. By carefully reconstructing the lives of these individuals, 83% of whom are African American, we have the opportunity to tell their stories and, in so doing, provide insights and guidance for our own lives. The enduring message of these biohistories is that their lives mattered, they counted scientifically and socially, their lives, even in death, have value and purpose.

Too often we take African American lives for granted. The larger societies of the world benefit from our creativity, intellectual prowess, and physical abilities, but our lives are too often discounted. The Cobb Research Laboratory allows us to reverse this pattern. Through our research we exhibit respect for those who came before us and made our current existence possible. ****


Cobb Lab