This class is focused on the ideas that that underpinned Black liberation movements from the end of World War Two until the mid-1970s. Much time is spent in academic settings exploring the classical (or the “good”) phase of the civil rights movement – peaceful demonstrations, church centered protests, sits ins, etc. Black Nationalism and other Black liberation movements such as the Black Power movement are taught largely as a reaction to the failure of the earlier phase of the civil rights movement to make good on its promises. While there is some truth in this claim it is important to understand that even before the passive resistance phase of the civil rights movement began a parallel far more radical
strand of Black politics existed. The Black Panther Party did not spring suddenly from the brains of Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The ideas of armed struggle, Pan-Africanism, and anti-colonial revolution had been simmering in the radical Black community long before the eruptions of the Black Power movement in 1966.
The class is designed to give students grounding in the context out of which the Black Panther Party and other Black liberation movements emerged as well as an in-depth study of the rise and fall of the BPP.
In this class each student will be required to attend EVERY class session, take and active part in discussions, lead a discussion of an article or book, participate in a group project focused on an aspect of the course, and write a draft of a research paper on a topic related to the material we have studied. You will be responsible for including a detailed bibliography and proper footnotes or endnotes. This paper will be due at the end of finals week. Participation is the key to success in this class.