History | Blacks and the City: African American Urban Experience
A379 | 4863 | S. Carter-David

Above class open to undergraduates and EDUC MA's only


Since the mid-20th century, this term has increasingly become
identified with the culture of this country’s citizens of African
And with good reason: In the year 2000, almost 90 percent of African
Americans lived in metropolitan areas!

The purpose of this course is to help students gain an understanding
of the historical situations that informed the African American
experience in urban centers.  This course will prepare students to
engage in broad discussions about Black urbanity in the colonial
period and into the 18th and 19th centuries when most African-
Americans were in bondage.  We will delve into the 20th and 21st
centuries by looking at the Black experience in terms of labor and
the migratory experience, cultural production, and class
formations.  We will study the changing meanings and implications of
race, the impact of slavery and emancipation, and the effects of
conflict and community building on Americans who happen to be both
Black and urban.  Additionally, we will investigate the role of
gender in the evolution of the African American family; surmise how
interaction with Native Americans, native and ethnic Whites, Asians
and Asian Americans, and Latinos/Latinas have impacted the
experiences of African Americans; and make meaning in how leisure
and entertainment, worship and activism, and health and institution-
building have all been negotiated by African Americans in their
quest to make lives for themselves in cities, all in order to answer
one overarching question: What does it teach us about American
history and culture?  The above will be achieved will by looking at
Black urban life in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West and
drawing upon primary source material and both historical and
sociological scholarship.

Finally, this course is designed to help students learn how to make
inferences and interpret texts to create their own meaning, analyze
and structure arguments, view issues and situations from varying and
diverse perspectives, and to familiarize them with the historical
profession and different historical methodologies.

The required books—Grossman’s "Land of Hope: Chicago, Black
Southerners, and the Great Migration," Harris’s "In the Shadow of
Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863," and
Hunter’s "To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and
Labors after the Civil War"—will be available for purchase at the
Indiana Memorial Union bookstore.  Other required readings are
available on-line at the course website, on E-Reserve, or contained
in Internet links.

There will be two take-home writing assignments and two in-class