HI 455/555 The American Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement was one of the most remarkable periods in American history. This mass movement dramatically shifted power relations in the American South, provided charismatic leadership for black Americans throughout the nation, built coalitions of linking black and white activists, reshaped the role of government in everyday life, and set into motion future protests including the Black Power movement, the anti-war protests, and the movement for women’s liberation. But the Civil Rights Movement did not emerge out of a vacuum. African Americans had battled for their rights both as slaves and as freed people following the Civil War. The foundation of the movement of the 1950s and 60s was laid in the groundwork of struggle. Black southerners continuously battled the erosion of their citizenship rights and fought for equal rights and fair representation. Although the primary focus of the course is in the work of the 1950s and 60s, it begins decades before.
The course has two goals: 1.) developing an historical timeline, accounting for the people, places, and events that made up this remarkable moment in American history, and 2.) assessing important historical themes central to the history of civil rights. Students will be responsible for learning the chronology of events as well as developing a critical analysis of the movement. The readings of the course must be read on two levels, both learning what happened and assessing the meanings found in the movement.
Raymond D’Angelo, The American Civil Rights Movement
Robin DG Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
Charles M. Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle
Scot Brown, Fighting For US: Maulana Karenga, The US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism
Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard, eds., Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America
Readings will be supplemented by films, documents,and handouts.
Students will be responsible for crafting two (2) response papers to specific questions that may require outside research. Response papers must be typed and will be graded for composition and content. This work must be completed individually; any sharing or collaboration is a violation of the Honor Code. Late responses will not be accepted.
(30% of final grade)
In-class group work will also be assigned periodically. Participation is required and will be evaluated. In-class group work cannot be made-up.(20% of final grade)
Midterm Exam –Matching, IDs and short essays.
(20% of final grade)
Final Take Home Essay –UNDERGRADUATES--10 page typed response to a question utilizing the materials of the course and primary source material as evidence. (30% of the final grade)
GRADUATE STUDENTS—20 page seminar paper on a selected research topic(30% of final grade)
Attendance is essential to your success in this course, so roll will be taken regularly. More than three (3) unexcused absences will result intwo (2) points off the FINAL GRADE for the course per absence.
Please inform the instructor of any special needs so that proper arrangements can be made.
Make-up work will only given for excused absences. The instructor reserves the right to define excused absences on a case-by-case basis.
Students taking the course for credit only will be expected to participate ully in the course.
Only typed essays will be accepted. HANDWRITTEN WORK, ESSAYS ON DISK, AND WORK SUBMITTED BY EMAIL WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Essays must be in 11-12 point font with standard margins. Late work will not be accepted without prior approval from the instructor.
All students are expected to adhere to the code of Academic Integrity as defined by the University. “The free exchange of ideas also depends on the participants' trust that others' work is their own and that it was done and is beingreported honestly. Intellectual progress in all the disciplines demands the truthfulness of all participants.Plagiarism and cheating are attacks on the very foundation of academic life, and cannot be tolerated within universities. Section eight (8) of the Code defines academic dishonesty and provides information on potential sanctions for violators of academic integrity.”
Please do not lie, cheat, or steal physical or intellectual property in this course.
Week one: May 23-27Equal Protection is a Lie: African Americans and the Battle for Full Citizenship
Readings: D’Angelo: Chapter One pp. 1-112, Kelley: Introduction-Chapter 2
May 30 –MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY—NO CLASS
Response Assignment 1 Due: May 31
Week two: May 31-June 3
Visions: Political Ideologies and the Making of a Movement
Readings: D’Angelo: pp. 113-194, Payne: Introduction-Chapter 4, Theoharris/Woodard: Chapters 9-10
Week three: June 6-10
The Battle for Leadership: Organization, Mobilization, and MovementReadings: D’Angelo: p. 195-359, Payne Chapters 5-10
MIDTERM EXAM June 13
Week four: June 14-17
Groundwork: Understanding Local Movements and the Roots of Black Power
Reading: Theoharris/Woodard: Chapters 1-7, 11-13 Payne Chapters 11-13; D’Angelo: Chapter 5 pp. 360-460
Response Assignment 2 Due: June 20
Week five: June 20-24
The Black Radical Imagination
Readings: Brown; Kelley: Chapter 3-5
June 28 TAKE HOME FINAL DUE