African American History: From Emancipation to the Present

Course Number
AFAM 162
About the Course

The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans’ urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.

Warning: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.

Course Structure
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2010.

Syllabus

Professor
Jonathan Holloway, Professor of History, African American Studies, and American Studies
Description

The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans’ urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.

Warning: Some of the lectures in this course contain graphic content and/or adult language that some users may find disturbing.

Texts

Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time. New York: Dial Press, 1963.

Bates, Beth. Pullman Porters and the Rise of Black Protest Politics. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Cleaver, Eldridge. Soul on Ice. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.

Ford, Richard Thompson. The Race Card. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Hunter, Tera. To ‘Joy My Freedom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007.

Malcolm X and George Breitman. Malcolm X Speaks. New York: Grove Press, 1990.

Marable, Manning and Leith Mullings. Let Nobody Turn Us Around. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf. New York: Macmillan, 1977.

Tuttle, William. Race Riot. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1970.

Vogel, Shane. The Scene of Harlem Cabaret. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Articles

Brown, Elsa Barkley. “Womanist Consciousness: Maggie Lena Walker and the Independent Order of Saint Luke.” Signs 14 (1989): 610-633. Reprinted in Malson, Micheline R., ed. Black Women in America: Social Science Perspectives. University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Cleaver, Kathleen. “Women, Power, and Revolution.” Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party. Routledge, 2001.

Collins, Patricia Hill. “The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought.” Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge, 2008. 

Davis, Angela. “Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights.” Women, Race & Class. Vintage Books, 1981.

Hill, Anita. “The Smear This Time.” Opinion, New York Times, October 2, 2007.

Kelley, R. D. G. “We are not what we seem”: Rethinking Black working-class opposition in the Jim Crow South. The Journal of American History (1993), 80 (1).

King, Martin Luther Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” open letter written April 16, 1963. Published by Liberation: An Independent Monthly. June, 1963.

McBride, Dwight A. “Can the Queen Speak? Racial Essentialism, Sexuality, and the Problem of Authority.” Callaloo, Vol. 21, No. 2, Emerging Male Writers: A Special Issue, Part II. Spring, 1998.

McGuire, Danielle L. “It Was like All of Us Had Been Raped”: Sexual Violence, Community Mobilization, and the African American Freedom Struggle. The Journal of American History (2004) 91(3). 

Nadasen, Premilla. “Expanding the Boundaries of the Women’s Movement: Black Feminism and the Struggle for Welfare Rights.” Feminist Studies. June 22, 2002.

Ransby, Barbara. “Behind the Scenes View of a Behind the Scenes Organizer.” Sisters in Struggle: Invisible Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement 1945–1970. ed. Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin. Routledge, 1996.

Ransby, Barbara. “Fear of a Black Feminist Planet.” Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle. ed. Jonathan Birnbaum and Clarence Taylor. New York University Press, 2000.

Tyson, Timothy B. “Robert F. Williams: ‘Black Power’ and the Roots of the African American Freedom Struggle.” The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement. ed. Susan M. Glisson. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

Films

Ethnic Notions, directed by Marlon Riggs. Signifyin’ Works, 1986.

4 Little Girls, directed by Spike Lee. 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks and Home Box Office (HBO), 1997.

Requirements

One midterm exam and a final exam. Weekly section attendance and participation is required, as well as attendance at the screenings of the two films.

Grading

Section attendance and participation: 20%
Midterm Exam: 30%
Final Exam, Parts One and Two: 50%

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Course Books and Other Related Titles

Yale University Press offers a 10% discount on the books used in AFAM 162 that it publishes, as well as on other related titles. A portion of the proceeds from your purchases will be donated for the ongoing support and development of the Open Yale Courses program.