From the pandemic to mass protests, 2020 will be a year long remembered — one the NAACP documented in a recent coffee table book, Twenty20 in Black.
Aba Blankson is the chief marketing and communications officer for the NAACP. She said the book is based on the visuals of the year, although it does include several essays.
There are several celebrities and people of note featured in the book, but she said, “It’s really about us, about everyday people having to get up and go to work and take care of their families in whatever way they could.”
Blankson’s team traveled to Selma, Alabama, to capture images of the 55th anniversary of the historic civil rights march. John Lewis spoke at the celebration just months before his death.
She said the book prominently features the COVID-19 pandemic. According to research done by the NAACP, she added, 68% of African Americans know someone who died from the disease.
The book also features the election and the census.
“We wanted to show joy and pain,” Blankson said. “We wanted to show grit and resilience.”
She said there was incredible loss in 2020, including celebrities like Kobe Bryant and Chadwick Boseman.
Others became widely known due to the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
“We lost Breonna, Ahmaud and George. We talk about all of that and the protest that came out of that,” Blankson said.
And it was also a time of innovation: “People saw what was lacking, what was missing and started businesses.”
Blankson described 2020 as one of those moments in time you’ll want to tell your children and grandchildren about years from now as you reflect on how it impacted you and where it brought you.
Twenty20 In Black is available online.