When millions of people took to the streets for the 2017 women’s marches, there was an unmistakable air of uprising, a sense that these marches were launching a movement. But the enduring work that protests do often can’t be seen in the moment. It feels powerful to march, but when and how does marching matter?
In this original and richly illustrated account, activist and organizer L. A. Kauffman delves into the history of America’s major demonstrations, beginning with the legendary 1963 March on Washington, to reveal what protests accomplish and how their character has shifted over time. Using the signs that demonstrators carry as rich clues to how protests are organized, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have. How to Read a Protest sheds new light on the catalytic power of collective action and the bottom-up, women-led model for organizing that’s transforming what movements look like and what they can win.