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This introductory course surveys the cultural, political, and social history of African Americans from Reconstruction to the present. It offers a balance between a “top-down” and “bottom-up” approach and focuses primarily on African Americans’ quest for citizenship, equality, justice, and opportunity. In addition to examining major historical developments and popular figures within the modern black past, we will explore the lesser-known histories of everyday people who helped shaped the black freedom struggle. In so doing, we will interrogate conventional narratives of progressive movements since emancipation. Some of the main topics include: the transition from slavery to freedom; the rise of Jim Crow and the politics of racial uplift; the Great Migration and the emergence of the New Negro; the Great Depression and the New Deal; World War II and the struggle for economic and racial inclusion; the postwar period and the intersecting movements of Civil Rights and Black Power; and the impacts of deindustrialization and mass incarceration on the black community. We will end with a discussion of the Obama years and Black Lives Matter.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Students will be graded on class participation and will have two take-home essay examinations (a midterm and a final, each 6-8 pages). In addition, students will write two response papers (2-3 pages) and will complete a mapping project based on The Negro Motorist Green Handbook.
students with demonstrated interest in material
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: