This course is a survey of the first half of African American History and Culture and traces the historical, political, social, and cultural contexts of black Americans from the slave trade to the great migration.
Thematically, we explore the meaning of freedom, the dynamic between black struggle and white resistance, and the ways in which factors such as gender and geography complicate any notions of a single black experience. Each week we will focus on different events, writings, narratives, debates, and political ideologies. The class is intended to present a "tree, tree, tree-forest" approach. In other words, we will focus on particular men and women, moments, and messages in order to provide a "moral of the story" perspective. Reappraisal is the core of history. Particular emphasis will be placed on how historians analyze primary source material, interpret the past, and debate the past. This course combines discussion, lecture, and multimedia. It presents a narrative, interpretation, and analysis of African American history.