Black Americans’ relationship with the automobile has been checkered.
In the era of Jim Crow and years after, those thousands of pounds of steel represented freedom for the descendants of slaves and sharecroppers as they took breaks from hard work for the nation’s new highways and vacations on the road. But that travel also represented threat, as Black families passed through unfamiliar places and worried about lynchings and the Klan.
Then of course there are the most recent bumps in that relationship between Black people and the car. The automobile has been a significant prop in numerous police traffic stops that have ended in death for Black motorists or passengers like Sandra Bland and Philando Castile.
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