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|Instructor:||Professor Albert W. Black Jr.|
|Office Phone:||685-7284 (no answering machine)|
|Department Phone:||543-5882 (messages only)|
The content of this course begins with slavery and traverses the historical and sociological experiences of African Americans through their resistance to slavery, their emancipation, their mobilization and organization and their present socioeconomic situation. It spans three centuries, the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth, and is a story of resistance, though perhaps not a story of triumph. It begins in sacrifice on a slave ship, the Robert; suicide on other ships; generates insurrections like the Stono Rebellion; maroons, outlyers, and Black institutions like the Hampstead Church; leaders such as Prime and Prince who in 1779 declared that "they were endowed with the same faculties" as their masters and were never intended to serve others, nor them serve us; leaders such as Denmark Vessey, Toussaint L'Overture, Gabriel Prosser, Nat Turner, Bishop Richard Allen, the founder of the first Black church in 1787, the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and David Walker who authored a revolutionary treatise entitled "Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizen's of the World But in Particular and Very Expressly to Those of the United States of America." This course is not a course about victims; it is a course about resistance, a course about leadership and actors, not objects. After all, the human spirit is indubitable and when it is unjustly stifled as it continues to be, struggle is inevitable.
Our journey continues through Black resistance as we study the political philosophy of Black leaders from the early Black Conventions of the mid-eighteen-hundreds to the turn of the century. Specifically, we study the political landscape which includes the issues and recommendations of the Buffalo Black Convention of 1843, The Cleveland Convention of 1848, the Rochester Convention of 1853, the Convention of Black Emigrationists in Cleveland in 1854, and the Syracuse Convention of 1864. Extraordinary African American leaders participated in all of these conventions and we not only review their participation, we study their political philosophy in great detail. Particularly important are the debates that took place during these conventions. We examine them closely. What was the nature of these debates? Who were these leaders? Most of us have no idea. The history has yet to be taught on a regular and routine basis. Among them were leaders such as Henry Highland Garnet, primarily known for his support of emigrationism; Frederick Douglass, the preeminent orator, indefatigable in his defiance of prejudice and racial injustice; and Martin Delany, characterized by many as the Father of Black Nationalism.
Continuing our journey, we head off toward the present, meeting the giants of the early and later half of the twentieth century. Here we stop to take intellectual photographs of the political philosophy of more contemporary Black leaders including Booker T. Washington, cultural pluralist and structural assimilationist; W.E.B. Dubois, the preeminent and classic intellectual of twentieth century Black America; Marcus Garvey, emigrationist, nationalist and humanist; the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam who taught Black people that we could accomplish what other races had accomplished, indeed we could even build a nation; Malcolm X, the savior of African Americans, he saved us from cowardice, self hate, and ignorance, and finally Martin Luther King Jr., intellectual, humanist, indefatigable in his commitment to bettering the human condition, and transforming the circumstances of "the least of these" as Jesus referred to them, without regard to race, class, religion or national origin.
Whereas many of the above leaders were leaders in their own right, the leaders in the sixties and seventies seem to be more highly affiliated with specific organizations. We will therefore review the political philosophy and landscape of such leaders as James Farmer, Floyd McKissick, Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton, Louis Farrakhan, and Wallace D. Muhammad. We also examine the history and ideology of their respective organizations, Core, SNCC, the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and others such as the NAACP.
A journey of this sort would not be complete if we did not examine the generic issues associated with African American political thought: issues such as accommodationism, integration, separatism, emigrationism, Black liberation and Marxist-Leninism, Black religion and Black Nationalism, the evaluation of Black Liberation Strategies and the psychological liberation of a people.
Finally, one of the most exciting opportunities in this course is our review and substantive analysis of selected films from the "Eyes on the Prize" series. We are fortunate to have such a documentary history on film. It brings us face to face with African American history, African American political thought and the sacrifices and suffering of African American people. And, in order to contrast the past and the present the class will end with a thorough discussion of our present plight and review of the video of the "Million Man March."
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COURSE MECHANICS AND REQUIREMENTS:
In this class we will use a quasi-seminar format to teach the course material. I use the word "quasi" here because at times lectures will be required. In order for us to have an informed discussion students will be expected to read the assigned material before class and to bring the readings to class to refer to as we review the material. The majority of the course material will come from a curriculum that I am in the process of developing for university and high school level students. The curriculum is two volumes in length and must be purchased from the Communications Building Copy Shop. I am very excited to provide you with the opportunity to learn this material while at the same time exposing you to the process by which a manuscript, such as this, gets developed. At this point, it is in its unedited, unrevised form. Part of this material represents historical fact that we just learn verbatim, other parts require interpretation, debate and discussion.
Traditionally, I have taught this course as a race relations course focusing on a number of the major groups in this country. However, since I was in the process of pulling this curriculum together, I felt that this would be an excellent time to expose students to the development of what may eventually become a book. Aside from this, I have a second rationale for using the curriculum as the content for the course. Disturbingly, I have noted how uninformed university and high school students, indeed the American public, are about the actual history of African Americans as well as the sociological effects of that history and so I have decided that it is critical to expose students, at both levels, to the history.
Consequently, including learning the course content thoroughly, three exams and a major term paper are required in this course. Each exam will cover approximately one-third of the material for the course. More specifically, the First exam will cover Units 1 through 32. The second exam will be based on Units 33 through 40, and the historical volumes of Jacqueline Jones and Paula Giddings. Both books are required for the course though I am experiencing some difficulty with the book distributors. Jacqueline Jones' book, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow, focuses on the labor history of black women from slavery to the present. I believe Jones' historical monograph to be the best ever written on the subject. Giddings' book, When and Where I Enter, also examines the history of black women as laborers. Unlike the Jones' book, the Giddings' book also allows us to examine the relationship between black women's and white women's organizations. Additionally, however, in focusing on the history of black women both books allow us to focus our microscope on the status of black families including the role of black men. The third exam will focus on the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), as well as key black organizations and the present plight of the black underclass. There are four sources for this material, Units 41 through 49, the documentary film series, the Eyes On the Prize, the video-tape of the Million Man March, and the film Boyz' In the Hood.
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There are three options for the term paper:
(1) Connecting Historical and Contemporary Racism and Their Effects: Wilson makes a distinction between historical and contemporary racism. Discuss and substantively connect these two concepts using historical data from Jones, Wilson and appropriate outside sources;
(2)The Gender-Race Connection: Using Jones, Giddings and appropriate outside sources, construct a portrait of the relationship between black women and white women over time. Be specific in your use of the historical data. Discuss their domestic relationship and their organizational relationship;
(3) Develop a Portrait of the Political History of African Americans. Use the historical data provided by Harding, Hall and to some extent Giddings to develop a portrait of the political history of African Americans starting with slavery and ending with a thorough discussion of the NOI, the BPP, SNCC and CORE. Include the CRM in your discussion.
Each term paper should be 12 to 15 pages in length, and if you desire, you have the option to revise.
I remain convinced after twenty-five years (now twenty-six) of experience that most of you do not get sufficient opportunity to develop your writing skills (knowing that this is an empirical matter I will of course, collect the appropriate data this quarter as I have for the last two and a half decades). Consequently, I offer the following writing option in all of the courses that I teach. You may revise and edit any paper that you write for this course. Your revisions however, must be made on the basis of the comments that I make on your papers. By learning to edit and revise (enlisting others in the reading of your paper), you will become a more competent writer. After all, good writing is about revisions. And don't let anybody fool you, writing is a skill that you can acquire.
Even though I provide the opportunity to revise, it is expected that no student will turn in an unedited first draft. The norm that I want to establish in this class is that you literally revise and edit every essay you turn in, including the first draft . The best editing process involves a third party (the better the reviewer, the more substantively critical, the better, and you only want their written comments not their verbal comments).
To repeat, the term paper required for this course must be edited for spelling errors, typos and grammar before it is turned in. And then after it is evaluated you will have a second opportunity to revise. I would like to make the revision mandatory, but that makes grading very labor-intensive so at this point I only offer it as an option.
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You must purchase a copy of the curriculum for this course from the copy center, Communications Building basement. Along with these materials, each student must purchase the following texts:
Giddings,Paula. 1984. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America. New York: Bantam Books.
Jones, Jacqueline. 1985. Labor of love, Labor of Sorrow. New York: Vintage Books.
If time allows, readings for the course will be supplemented with audio recordings of Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Jesse Jackson and select films form the Eyes on the Prize series, the Million Man March and Boyz' In the Hood.
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The third requirement is optional. You may choose to participate in a panel discussion. If you choose this option and do a competent job your grade will be raised by .2 (two-tenths). In order to receive the added grade-points you must either prepare an overhead or provide each student with an outline of your presentation. Each panel will include only five students and you must use one of the following books as the topic for your panel discussion. Do not purchase any of these books. You can borrow my copies and provide sections for each student that presents.
(I)Blee, Kathleen M.. 1991. Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s. Berkeley: University of California Press.
(2) Bittker, Boris L. 1973. A Case for Black Reparations. New York: Random House.
(3) Clegg III, Claude Andrew. 1997. An Original Man: the Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad. New York: St. Martin's Press.
(4) McAdam, Doug. 1988. Freedom Summer. New York: Oxford University Press.
(5) Morris, Aldon D. 1984. A Origins of the Civil Rights Movement.- Black Communities Organizing for Change. New York: The Free Press.
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Read Units I - 40, entitled: Connecting with the Experience, the Middle Passage, the Purchase of Human Beings, Were African Captives Racist, Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword, the Birth of Black Institutions, the Illegal American Slave Trade (1808-1862), the Use of Violence: Slave Insurrections, the Spoken and Published Word, Frederick Douglass, David Ruggles, Martin Delany, Henry Highland Gamet, the Liberty Party, Thomas Van Rensselaer, Charles Ray, and Charles Remond, The Buffalo Convention (1843), the North Star, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Harriet Tubman, the Congress, The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, the Cleveland Emigrationist Convention (1854), the Rochester (1853) and Cleveland Conventions Compared, the Dred Scott Decision, John Brown's Raid, the African Experience Under Slavery, the Lincoln - Douglass Debates, the Civil War (1861-1865), the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863), the Syracuse Convention (1864), Field Order Number 15, Disarming Black Patriots, the Freedmen's Bureau and the Black Codes (1865 - 1867), the Reconstruction Act of 1867, the Hayes/Tilden Compromise (1877), the Ku Klux Klan, the Democratic Party and Disenfranchisement, Sojourner Truth, and an Essay on Frederick Douglass.
First panel presentation on Women of the Klan: Race and Gender in the 1920s by Kathleen Blee.
First exam. Exam 1 covers all of the reading material for the first three weeks including the panel discussion material.
The second and third panel discussions on The Case for Black Reparations by Borris Bittker, and An Original Man: the Life and Times of Elijah Muhammad by Clegg, respectively.
Read the Units entitled: the Destablization of the African American Family, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois (1895 - 1915), New Leadership for the African American Community, Ida Wells Barnett, Urbanization and the Great Migration (1896 - 1927), Ma Marcus Garvey, the Great Depression (1929 1935), and Father Divine. Also read Jacqueline Jones' brilliant treatise, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow and Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter.
Second exam. The exam covers all of the readings for the 5th, 6th , and 7th weeks including Units 33 - 40, both books, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow and When and Where I Enter, as well as the panel discussion materials.
Read the Units 41 - 49 entitled: the Birth of the Nation of Islam, An Intellectual Portrait of Malcolm X, SNCC, CORE, and the Black Panther Party, An Intellectual Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Manifesto, the Eyes on the Prize Curriculum, Truly Disadvantaged, When Work Disappears, and American Apartheid Combined, Statistical Support, and Proposed Solutions. We will also discuss select films from the documentary film series "Eyes on the Prize," the Million Man March, and Boyz' in the Hood.
Final Panel Discussions covering the books Freedom Summer by McAdam, and The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement by Morris.
a). For those students who want "W' credit and who therefore must revise, your first drafts are due at a sooner date. If you do not turn your papers in on this date, you will not be able to get "W' credit. You also will not be able to revise your paper for class. Your papers will be returned to you a week in advance of the final due date.
b). Final Exam: The exam will cover the reading material for the 8th 9th, and 10th weeks, which includes Units 41 - 49, as well as the films and panel discussion materials.