The origins of policing in America | Perspective

Protests against police violence are shining new light on the role that police play in American society—now and in the past. Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Chenjerai Kumanyika explain how American policing grew out of efforts to control the labor of poor and enslaved people in the 19th century and beyond.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the director of the Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability Project at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard, and the author of “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America”.

Chenjerai Kumanyika is an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and was the co-host of Gimlet Media’s “Uncivil” podcast about the Civil War. Read more: Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

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