Approved by University Studies Sub-Committee.

 

University Studies Course Proposal

History 220: African-American History

Winona State University Professor John Campbell

 

 

Rationale

The Department of History strongly believes that History 220, African American History, will play an important role in the Multicultural Perspectives segment of the Universities Studies Program by providing students with an opportunity to enhance their understanding of diversity and multiculturalism in general and, more specifically, in terms of the history of African Americans. This course is designed to address four of the five outcomes associated with the Multicultural Perspectives segment.

 

USP Multicultural Perspective Objective a

 

According to this objective, students should become more proficient at demonstrating knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, etc as manifested in different cultures. This goal will be achieved in a number of ways with the course. Most basically, the very definition of the course as focusing on one particular, non-dominant socio-cultural group—African Americans--indicates that students will be exposed to a large body of knowledge about a group of people whose culture and historical experience has been at odds with the dominant EuroAmerican experience and culture. Thus, the very existence of the course presupposes a diversity of cultures—African American versus EuroAmerican—from the get go; or to put it more tentatively, the implicit question motivating the course is the extent to which African American and EuroAmerican experiences and cultures have differed at any give moment and over time.

Within the course itself, students will examine the coexistence and/or clash of different cultures along three dimensions: differences/similarities between different African cultures before the slave trade; cultural differences/similarities between African Americans and EuroAmericans; and, the evolution of African American cultural over time and space. For example, a central theme in the course is to see how African American culture evolved overtime and between places (such as rural versus urban or North versus South). Indeed, unlike History 235 (History of the American Indian), which presupposes far more profoundly the continued existence of verifiably and ethnographically distinct Native American cultures into the present period, this course is shaped by a different "multicultural" question: to what extent has African American culture and experience merged with the dominant EuroAmerican culture and experience since the end of slavery?.

Students will become knowledgeable about African American culture and how it evolved over time through a variety of course materials and activities. While the lecture and textbook material will oftentimes provide the chronological or structural overview of how the different groups were interacting at any given moment (such as 1700, 1787, l865, l877, l896, l919, l958, l963), the specialized readings focusing on a particular historical experience (origins of slavery, the campaign against lynching) or individual (Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Anne Moody) and the daily discussions of those readings will provide students with an opportunity to gain a much more in depth knowledge of the African American cultural experience and its development historically.

The extent to which this knowledge has been digested and assimilated will be determined by periodic quizzes, the midterm, and the final.

 

USP Multicultural Perspective Objective b

In some ways this is the most important of the four objectives associated with the Multicultural Perspectives because, as I envision it, it has to do with white racism towards African Americans and how African Americans have responded. For racism is fundamentally a cultural construct telling one group (whites, in this case) how to perceive, control, think about, and interpret the existence and experience of another group of people (blacks, in this case). Thus, a central goal of this class is to describe, discuss, and analyze white racism, its impact on black Americans, and how black Americans have fought it overtime.

While I deal with the various manifestations of racism in some of the lectures, a more important venue for examining its features and pernicious impact comes from some of the more specialized readings, particularly the autobiographies of Douglass and Moody, where students can "listen" to individual African Americans talk about the racism that they encountered in their daily lives and how they responded to it. The book by Goings on the emergence of black collectables (such as racist advertising images like Aunt Jemima or post cards of blacks eating watermelons) provides graphic, disturbing, and horrific depictions and evidence of the white racist culture.

 

USP Multicultural Perspective Objective c

 

The main ways that this objective—understanding the extent to which cultural differences influenced the interaction between individuals and/or groups—will be addressed are through lectures, class discussions of required readings, and videos. Unlike Objective b, which deals primarily with ideas, this one focuses on behaviors; as a result, this objective is primarily concerned with the presentation and discussion of the behavioral implications and manifestations of racism and how African Americans fought it. To accomplish this goal, students will not only hear lectures on this topic but they will also read material that deals with behavior and interaction, such as the origins of slavery and the origins of the campaign against lynching and, for the more recent period in African American history, students will watch, analyze, and discuss lots of film footage of the Civil Rights movement of the l950’s and l960’s.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of this material through discussions, short quizzes, the midterm and the final.

 

 

USP Multicultural Perspective Objective d

This objective--examining different cultures through their various expressions—will be addressed in three ways. First, by reading and discussing one very important kind of cultural expression: the autobiographies of specific African Americans ( Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Anne Moody). Secondly, by reading and discussing specialized secondary scholarly texts that discuss the various ways that African Americans dealt with important issues in their lives, such as the origins of slavery. Thirdly, by having students do group research projects on some aspect of the African American cultural experience, whether in the past or present.

 

In addition to the group research project, students will demonstrate an understanding of this material through discussion, short quizzes, and the midterm and the final.

History 220: African-American History

Winona State University Professor John Campbell

Fall l999 Office: Minne 336C

Tues.,Thurs.,11-12:20, Minne 235 457-2378

Email: jcampbell@vax2.win.msus.edu

 

Office Hours:

M, W, F:9-10;2-4

Tues: 9-10; 1-2; 4-5

Thurs: 9-10; 1-2 ; and by appointment

 

This course examines many issues, topics, and themes central to the history of African Americans. We start with the African origins and continue (roughly) to the late 20th Century. Within this large time period, we will be examining such topics as: the nature of African cultures on the eve of the slave trade; the slave trade and plantation slavery in colonial America; slavery and the lives of slaves in the l9th Century; the experience of free black people in the antebellum North; abolition and Civil War; Reconstruction and its promises for the freed slaves; white oppression, racism, and stereotyping and black resilience in the late l9th and early 20th Centuries; the impact of World Wars on black Americans; the consequences of the New Deal for African Americans; and, the rise, nature, evolution, and impact of the Civil Rights and Black Liberation movements of the post WWII period.

In addition, we will also be focusing on crucial , long-term themes such as: the changing nature and impact of racism and white domination on black life; the way black Americans have resisted such domination; the development of a distinctive African American (sub)culture; and, the development of differences and tensions within the African American community.

The specific course requirements and expectations include the following:

1) class attendance and active participation in class discussion;

2) doing and turning in on time various quizzes (announced and unannounced) short papers, assignments, etc., that I will assign at my discretion;

3) TWO take-home essay exams, WHICH I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO DO WITH A PARTNER.

4) A group (2 or 3 individuals) research paper on some aspect of the African American cultural experience (it need not be historical)

Your grade for the course will be based as follows:

1) each of the take home essay exams will count 25% of the final grade, for a total of 50%;

2) the group research project will count 25% of the final grade;

3) the other 25% will be based on the combined total of the quizzes, short papers, miscellaneous assignments. As far as the quizzes, etc., go, aside from a bona fide,MAJOR LEAGUE reason (such as a medical or family crisis) for missing quizzes or turning in short papers late, there will be NO opportunities to make-up quizzes or to turn in short papers late. On the other hand, each student will be allowed one missed quiz or one missed –late short paper without getting a grade of E (failing) for that particular assignment. After you have used up your one missed quiz/late/not-turned-in-short paper , all future quizzes/short papers that you miss or try to turn in late will be given a failing grade. (If you never use up your one "miss," when figuring up your final grade, I will exclude your lowest quiz/short paper grade if this helps you.) Finally, if I assign optional short papers, and you do them, the grades you get on these optional papers will replace your lower grades on the quizzes/short papers (this assumes that you do considerably better on the optional papers than on those quizzes/short papers whose grades you would like to replace.).

4) For students on the border between, say, an A and B, I will make my final decision based on the extent and quality of the student’s participation in class.

Seven books are required for the course. They are:

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass [FD]

John Hope Franklin and Afred A. Moss., Jr., From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans (7th Edtion) [JF]

Kenneth W. Goings, Mammy and Uncle Mose: Black Collectibles and American Stereotyping [KG]

Jacqueline Jones Royster, ed., Southern Horrors and Other Writings: the Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, l892-l900 [JR]

Arwin D. Smallwood, The Atlas of African-American History and Politics [AS]

Edward Countryman, ed., How did American Slavery Begin? [EC]

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi [AM]

Many of these books are/will be on reserve in Maxwell Library; all are available for purchase in the bookstore.

For students at Winona State taking this course in order to satisfy the Multicultural Perspectives requirement of the University Studies Curriculum, this course will do so by addressing the following four objectives required of courses in the Multicultural Perspectives category:

    1. promoting knowledge of diverse patterns and similarities of thought, values, and beliefs as manifested in different cultures;
    2. understanding the extent to which cultural differences influence the interpretation and expression of events, ideas, and experiences;
    3. understanding the extent to which cultural differences influence the interactions between individuals and/or groups
    4. examining different cultures through their various expressions.

To help students see where each of these objectives is being addressed during the course of the semester, I use the following set of symbols to indicate which objectives are being addressed when:

USO a=objective indicated by letter a above

USO b=objective indicated by letter b above

USO c=objective indicated by letter c above

USO d=objective indicated by letter d above

 

COURSE OUTLINE (SUBJECT TO REVISION AT ANY TIME, IN ANY MANNER!!)

1 8/24 Introduction to the Class

2 8/26 The African Cultural Origins of African Americans (USO a, b, d)

JF: chaps. 1, 2,

Discuss: JF: illustrations between pages 60 and 61

Discuss: AS: preface, pages 1 - 9

3 8/31 The Transatlantic Slave Trade (USO a, b, c)

JF: ch. 3

Discuss: AS: pages 10-14,17-20;

4 9/2 The Beginnings of Slavery in the Colonies, I (USO a, b,c)

JF: ch. 4

Discuss: AS: pages 21-36

5 9/7 The Beginnings of Slavery in the Colonies, II (USO a, b, d)

Discuss: EW: foreword through page 64

Discuss: EW: 65-84

6 9/9 Black People and the Revolution (USO a, b, c)

JF: ch. 5

Discuss: AS: 39-41

7 9/14 Black People and the Creation of the young United States, I (USO a, c)

JF: ch. 6, and pages 105-110

Discuss: AS: pages 42-46, 56

  1. 9/16 Black People and the Creation of the young United States, II (USO a, c, d)

Discuss: EC: 85-98

Discuss: EC: 99-147

9 9/21 Slavery in the l9th Century, I (USO a, b, c)

JF: pages 110-122 and ch. 8

Discuss: AS: pages 51, 52, 53, 57, 58, 62, 63

10 9/23 Slavery in the l9th Century, II (USO a, b, c)

Discuss: AS: pages 47-50, 60-61,64

11 9/28 Slaves and Slave Culture in the l9th Century (USO a, b, d)

Discuss: FD, chapter 1 through chapter 8

[Optional Readings on Reserve: articles by John Campbell on slavery:

"Work, Pregnancy, and Infant Mortality Among Southern Slaves"

"As ‘A Kind of Freeman?’: Slaves’ Market-Related Activities in the South Carolina Up Country, l800-l860,"

"’My constant companion’: Slaves and their Dogs in the Antebellum South"]

12 9/30 Slave Culture, Slave Resistance, and Slave Rebellions (USO a, b, d)

Discuss: FD, chapter 9 through chapter 11

13 10/5 The Life and Culture of the Antebellum Free Blacks (USO a, b, d)

JF:ch. 9

Discuss: AS: pages 59, 65-70

14 10/7 Work on Papers

15 10/12 The political struggle against slavery (USO a, c)

JF: ch. 10

Discus: FD, "Preface" by Garrison, "Letter" from Phillips, and appendix

16 10/14 Blacks and the Civil War [hand out mid term?] (USO a, b, c)

JF: chap 11

Discuss: AS: pages 73-86

17 10/19 Reconstruction and Black Life (USO a, c)

JF: chap. 12

Discuss: AS: pages 89-102

18 10/21 Reconstruction Undone (USO a, b c, d )

JF: chap. 13

Discuss: KG: preface through chap.

19 10/26 The Promises of Freedom? Black Life and Culture in late l9th Century America

(USO a, b, c, d)

JF: chaps. 14, 15

Discuss: JR: cover to 72

20 10/28 Lynching (USO a, b, c, d)

Discuss: JR: 73 to end

Discuss: AS: 105-107

21 11/2 Promises and Disappointments, l900 to l920 (USO a, b, c)

JF: chaps. 16, 17

Discuss: AS: 108-115

22 11/4 Culture and African Americans in the early 20th Century (USO a, b, d)

JF: chap. 18

Discuss: KG: chap. 2, 3 and AS: 116-118

23 11/9 African Americans and the New Deal years (USO a, b, c)

Discuss: JF: chaps. 19, 20

Discuss: AS: pages 121-125

24 11/11 African Americans and World War II (USO a, b, c)

JF; chap. 21

Discuss: AS: pages 126-137

25 11/16 African Americans on the Eve of the Civil Rights Movement (USO a,b,c, d)

Discuss: JF: chap. 22

Discuss: AS: 138-146

Discuss: AM: 1-117

26 11/18 Civil Rights and Black Liberation, I (USO a, b, c, d)

JF: chap. 23

Discuss: AM:118-258

27 11/23 Civil Rights and Black Liberation, II (USO a, b, c, d)

Discuss: AS: 147-155 and AM:261-384

28* 11/30 Civil Rights and Black Liberation, III: Guest Lecturer, Mr. Joe Morse (USO a, b, c, d)

29 12/2 Civil Rights and Black Liberation, IV (USO a, b, c)

Discuss: "Eyes on the Prize" Series

30 12/7 Civil Rights and Black Liberation, V (USO a, b, c, d)

Discuss: AM: 261-384

Discuss: KG: chapter 4

31 12/9 Beyond the Civil Rights Movement (USO a, b, c)

JF: chap. 24

Discuss: AS: pages 156-173