The side panels are from a manuscript image of the earliest known depictions of the Bubonic Plague. From 1349 the images reveal people carrying coffins of those who died of the illness in Tournai, a city in what is now Belgium. I added the center image as a continuation of the ‘Black Death’ throughout history. The center image is a young Black woman protesting in Minneapolis in response to the murder of #GeorgeFloyd. Center image courtesy: Obi Onyeader @thenewmalcom at unsplash.

“Black Death” Matters: A Modern Take on a Medieval Pandemic

(A condensed version of this essay is also available at the Historianspeaks.org blog here)

In trying to understand our present day and the world that will come out of COVID-19, many people are drawing parallels between this current pandemic and the Black Death (also known as the Bubonic Plague) that began in the mid-1300s in Asia and peaked in Europe, the Middle…