History | African American History I
A355 | 26655 | Myers


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only

This course will examine the multi-faceted responses of African
Americans to slavery and “freedom” in the Americas from 1400-1865.
We will examine the political, economic and social forces that
shaped the lives of black people in the Americas before the end of
the Civil War and highlight the varied individual and collective
responses of African peoples to these forces as they struggled to
shape their lives to conform to their own definitions of freedom,
utilizing the lenses of gender, region, color and religion as we do
so.

Reading some of the most important literature in the field, topics
for discussion will include: West African life and culture; European
contact and the middle passage; the development of racial slavery in
the “New World”; the debate over race, slavery, freedom and
citizenship; antebellum slavery and resistance; slavery and the
black woman; black family life; labor; the lives of free blacks;
reform movements; and the Civil War. Using primary documents
(written in the past by those who lived through the events under
study) and secondary sources (written by modern historians studying
past events), we will examine the past through the eyes of those who
experienced it and sharpen our ability to evaluate, analyze and
interpret the arguments of leading historians in the field.

Lecture attendance is mandatory and the course will require 75-100
pages of reading per week. Class time will involve informal lectures
as well as regular group discussions, and students will be evaluated
through their participation in daily discussions, small group work,
and 4 take-home papers, all of which will be based on class
materials.

While there is no official prerequisite for this course, this is an
upper-level class and the lectures and readings presume some prior
knowledge of early American history. It is thus recommended, but not
required, that students have taken H105 (American History Survey- to
1865) before taking this class.