AMST 252gm: BLACK MOVEMENTS IN THE U.S.
BLACK MOVEMENTS IN THE U.S.
INSTRUCTOR: Professor Robin D. G. Kelley email@example.com
TIME: M W 10:00am-11:50am
PLACE: TTH 301
Office Hours: Mondays 1:00 – 3:00; Wed. 5:00 – 6:00, or by appointment
Office: Social Sciences Building Room 277 -- 213 740-1619
Teaching Assistants: Margarita Smith firstname.lastname@example.org; Adam Bush, email@example.com; Tasneem Siddiqui, firstname.lastname@example.org
In this course, we examine historical and contemporary movements for freedom, justice, equality, autonomy and self-determination. Freedom is the operative word because the movements and activists we consider emerge out of, or struggle against, the conditions of incarceration. Incarceration or imprisonment is not limited to the formal jail or prison; we will be looking at the conditions of Southern sharecroppers, the position of black women under racism and patriarchy, the internment of the Japanese, not to mention incarcerated activists as political prisoners. Most importantly, we examine how people challenge these conditions, how movements are formed to overturn the various “prisons” that dominate and subjugate aggrieved populations.
We consider a wide range of movements, including labor, civil rights, radical feminism, socialism and communism, reparations, Third World liberation, prisoners’ rights, and Black Nationalism. We will explore, among other things, how movements were formed and sustained; the social and historical contexts for their emergence and demise; the impact they might have had on power, on participants in the movement, on the community at large, and on a people’s vision of a liberated future.
The lectures, readings and talks by guest activists, should compel us to move beyond traditional binaries (e.g., accommodation vs. resistance; integration vs. separatism; North vs. South); demolish the myth that black people needed a “messiah” to lead them by introducing us to local leaders who rose from the grassroots but never found a place in the grand narrative; and reveal a vision of emancipation so broad, so complex, so fluid that it defies labels and categories. “Freedom” was a much bigger matter than integration; it was, and continues to be, a struggle for full citizenship and the right to determine our destiny, a struggle for power and the overthrow the many oppressions we all experience, a struggle to remake the world and to ensure we never forget the past that made us. The we, I venture to say, includes all oppressed humanity, for black social movements at their best exposed the fragility of whiteness, shed light on how racism arrests the human potential, and sought to replace the values of individualism, accumulation, and competition with the values of community, cooperation, self-determination, love, and an unwavering commitment to social justice for all.
ASSIGNMENTS: Students are responsible for keeping up with the reading assignments and showing up for lecture and discussion section. The final grade will be based on three five-page essays and a final project (see below). The essays will be worth 20% each; the group project is worth 30%; and class participation will make up the remaining 10% of your final grade. Class participation is based on regular attendance and participation in discussion. I generally do not tolerate late papers without a plausible excuse. A late paper will be docked one-half of a grade for each day it is late. In order to participate fully in class discussions you must keep abreast of the reading assignments.
ESSAY 1 (five pages): Examine and summarize the USC Master Plan and the critique offered by Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAGE), and then reflect on how Professor Gilmore’s analysis of California’s economy and the prison-industrial complex might apply to USC’s economic policies in the region. Are USC’s policies and its strategic plan contributing to urban poverty and displacement? Rising rates of incarceration? Economic crisis? Or does USC represent a solution to these problems and challenges? If not, then what should the university or university students do to become part of the solution to solving the crises Professor Gilmore writes about?
ESSAY 2 (five pages): Compare and contrast the lives of Fannie Lou Hamer and Ivory Perry. What circumstances and life experiences made them activists? How do they compare in terms of strategies and tactics? How would you characterize their overall conception of struggle and their vision of a liberatory future? Where do they differ? Finally, what critical lessons can they offer present and future generations?
ESSAY 3 (five pages): Compare and contrast the lives of Yuri Kochiyama and Assata Shakur. How has incarceration/internment shaped their political vision? Although one is a Japanese-American and the other an African American woman, they both were drawn to revolutionary and nationalist organizations. How did they come to this path, and where do their ideas and political affiliations intersect or diverge? Finally, what critical lessons can they offer present and future generations?
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS WEB PROJECT: For your group project, you will be contributing to an existing Wiki site the last class created focusing on contemporary social justice movements in Los Angeles. You will be divided up into groups and each group will select one organization and develop a Wiki page about their work. But unlike the last project, you will focus on an historical organization or activist, and your main source of information is the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, a community-based institution located at 6120 S. Vermont.
I will provide more details later. For now, there are three stages to the assignments—initial proposal, first draft posted for class critique, final page posted. The entire class will read each of the web pages and post constructive criticisms for revision. Once the site is finalized, all comments and criticisms will be removed and it will be made available to the public with the hope of providing a useful source about the history of social justice movements in and around Los Angeles.
STATEMENT ON ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: USC seeks to maintain an optimal learning environment. General principles of academic honesty include the concept of respect for the intellectual property of others, the expectation that individual work will be submitted unless otherwise allowed by an instructor, and the obligations both to protect one’s own academic work from misuse by others as well as to avoid using another’s work as one’s own. All students are expected to understand and abide by these principles. Scampus, the Student Guidebook, contains the Student Conduct Code in Section 11.00, while the recommended sanctions are located in Appendix A:
Students will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards for further review, should there be any suspicion of academic dishonesty. The Review process can be found at:
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with the Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester. A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP. Please be sure the letter is delivered to me (or to the TA) as early in the semester as possible. DSP is located in STU 301 and can be contacted at (213) 740-0776.
Ruth Wilson-Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California. Los Angeles and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.
Robin D. G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.
Chana Kai Lee, For Freedom’s Sake: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 200.
Diane C. Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
Assata Shakur, Assata. Brooklyn, NY: Lawrence Hill Books, 1987.
George Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995 new ed., orig. 1988.
LECTURES AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
(NOTE: Some of the lecture headings represent one class, others represent two classes (one week) or more. How they are divided depends on the length of the semester, holidays, and in some cases, class interest. Below I’ve indicated what topics we typically spend a week on, but it is important to remain flexible)
AUGUST 25 –– INTRODUCTIONS
AUGUST 27 -- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SOCIAL MOVEMENTS?
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, Preface and Intro.
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, Intro.
SEPTEMBER 1—LABOR DAY – NO CLASSES
SEPTEMBER 3 – “IT AIN’T WHERE YA FROM . . . .”: COMMUNITY ACTIVISM AND USC’S MASTER PLAN
USC Master Plan (link on Blackboard)
All articles related to the Figueroa Corridor on the SAJE Website (link on Blackboard)
SEPTEMBER 8 – DISCUSSION WITH SAJE MEMBERS RE: FIGUEROA CORRIDOR AND IT’S IMPACT ON STUDENTS
Gilmore, Golden Gulag, Prologue, chapters 1-2
***First wiki assignment due (not graded). In order to familiarize yourself with the software and syntax, please post your biography as well as a photo of you (or something relevant) to your personal page on our Wiki sight. (We will demonstrate how to do this in class).
SEPTEMBER 10 – POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CALIFORNIA
Gilmore, Golden Gulag, chapters 3-4.
SEPTEMBER 15 – PRISON ACTIVISM (Guest Speaker TBA)
Gilmore, Golden Gulag, chapter 5.
Critical Resistance - Incite Statement Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex,”
“30 Years after the Murder of George Jackson: Radio Documentary about the Origins of the Modern Anti-Prison Movement,”
LISTEN TO PROGRAM
SEPTEMBER 17 – PRISON CRISIS OR CRISIS OF CAPITAL? WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Gilmore, Golden Gulag, chapter 6 and Epilogue.
ESSAY #1 DUE THIS WEEK IN DISCUSSION SECTION!!!
SEPTEMBER 22— IN EGYPTLAND: SEMI-SLAVERY AND THE GREAT BLACK EXODUS
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, chapter 1
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, chapter 1
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, chapter 1
EVENT: --LA Theater Center, September 23rd, “How Dangerous is the Garment Industry?”—Moderated by Jerry Sullivan, editor and publisher, Los Angeles Garment & Citizen, with Kimi Lee of the Garment Worker Center, Garment Contractors Association Executive Director Joe Rodriguez and Michael Kang, owner of the Caribe fashion label in the Garment District.
SEPTEMBER 24 – JIM CROW, IMPRISONMENT, AND THE MAKING OF REVOLUTIONARIES
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, chapters 2-3
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, chapters 2-3
Listen to recollections, speeches and songs of SNCC activists (Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Bob Moses, etc.) Requires Real Audio.
The link is also available on Blackboard under external links.
PROPOSALS/ABSTRACTS FOR WIKI PROJECT DUE. PLEASE SEND YOUR GROUP PROPOSALS DIRECTLY TO ME AT email@example.com. Remember, you are required to provide three possible projects and we will select one. I want to avoid repetition.
SEPTEMBER 29 – BEFORE OBAMA: THE MFDP AND RADICAL ELECTORAL POLITICS
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, chapters 4-6
OCTOBER 1 – LABOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, chapter 4
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, chapter 7
OCTOBER 2 -- REQUIRED EVENT: Cornerstone Theater Performance and Open Rehearsal
Premiere: “Eye for Eye: A Dramatic Investigation of Incarceration and Justice in American Society.”
The Cornerstone Theater Company is a collaborative and community-based theater ensemble. Cornerstone will present two events based on Eye for Eye, the newest play in their five-part Justice Cycle. The series as a whole examines the relationship between laws and community creation and disruption, and pushes audiences to think critically about the role and function of justice in our society. In the afternoon, an open rehearsal will invite audience participation and questions about the play and the company's process.
Developed collaboratively with members of the community, Eye for Eye explores themes of incarceration, retribution and justice in U.S. society. Following the evening
performance, USC professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore will moderate a discussion with Cornerstone members and people affected by the California prison system.
OCTOBER 3 -- REQUIRED EVENT: Kamau Daood Performance
The premiere of a program of socially conscious, spirited music and poetry, organized by Los Angeles cultural icons poet Kamau Daaood and vocalist Dwight Trible entitled Elders of the Mothership. The work spans a spectrum of musics including world music, spiritual jazz, and the avant-garde, all rooted deeply in African-American traditions.
The evening features an all-star line-up of seven locally based artist known internationally for their work in the vibrant art scene in Leimert Park Village.
The neighborhood of Leimert Park, in south-west Los Angeles, is a stronghold of African-American culture. Amongst its many riches are KAOS Network, a community arts center that provides training on digital arts, media arts and multi-media; Project Blowed, the longer-running hip-hop open workshop; the World Stage for jazz and
literary performances, Gallery Plus, which exhibits contemporary art, Eso Won books, and the Leimert Park Plaza, a thriving public park where performances and happenings take place.
OCTOBER 6 – POOR PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS I
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, chapters 5-7
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, chapters 8-9
OCTOBER 8 – POOR PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS II
Lipsitz, A Life in the Struggle, chapters 8-10
Lee, For Freedom’s Sake, Conclusion
OCTOBER 10 -- EVENT: -Southern California Library Seminar/Workshop with Yusef Omowale on Archives and Research.
This program brings the Southern California Library and its resources to USC, identifying linkages between knowledge and practice, thinking about the problems, challenges, and uses of history. We will discuss how people's history is different from dominant history by the way we engage communities, create a lasting product, and utilize local archives.
OCTOBER 13—RACE, GENDER, AND INTERNMENT: INTRODUCING YURI KOCHIYAMA
Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle, Intro. – Chapter 3
ESSAY #2 DUE THIS WEEK IN DISCUSSION SECTION!!
OCTOBER 15—RACE, GENDER, AND INCARCERATION: INTRODUCING OF JOANNE CHESIMARD
Shakur, Assata, Foreword to Chapter 4
EVENT: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18-- Workshop at the SCL (Vermont Ave and 61st), and introduction to their archives
OCTOBER 20-– MARX TO MALCOLM TO MAO: BLACK INTERNATIONALISM AND URBAN REBELLION - I
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, chaps. 2-3
Shakur, Assata, Chapter 5
Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle, Chapter 4
OCTOBER 22-– MARX TO MALCOLM TO MAO: BLACK INTERNATIONALISM AND URBAN REBELLION - II
Shakur, Assata, Chapters 6 – 8
Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle, Chapters 5 - 6
OCTOBER 27 -- BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT
Shakur, Assata, Chapters 9 – 11
OCTOBER 29 -- POLITICAL PRISONERS AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle, Chapter 7
Shakur, Assata, 13 – Postscript (all remaining chapters0
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, chap. 5
Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle, remaining chapters
“Combahee River Collective Statement,” 1977 POSTED
Mary Ann Weathers, “An Argument For Black Women's Liberation As a Revolutionary Force,” (1969). POSTED
Patricia Robinson, "Poor Black Women" including "Birth Control Pills and Black Children," a statement by the Black Unity Party (Peekskill, NY) and "A Response" by black sisters. POSTED
Frances Beal, “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female,” (1970) POSTED
NOVEMBER 10—-- MORE THAN A PAYCHECK: POST-CIVIL RIGHTS RACISM AND REPARATIONS
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, chap. 4 David Horowitz, "Ten reasons why reparations for slavery is a bad idea for blacks--and racist too," Black Scholar 31, no. 2 (Summer 2001), POSTED
Ernest Allen Jr. and Robert Chrisman, “Ten reasons: A response to David Horowitz,” Black Scholar 31, no. 2 (Summer 2001). POSTED
Molly Secours, “Riding the Reparations Bandwagon: A White Woman’s Perspective,” http://www.reparationsthecure.org/articles/secours1.shtml
Adamma Ince, “No Masses, No Movement,” Village Voice (May 22-28, 2003),
EVENT: November 10 -- Nightly Screenings of Off the Pigs and Repression (Dir. Roz Payne, Newsreel Films, Filmed in the 1960s, released 2006), The Murder of Fred Hampton (Dir. Howard Alk and Mike Gray, 1971), Legacy of Torture: The War Against the Black Liberation Movement (Dir. Andres Alegría, Claude Marks and the Freedom Archives, 2007) and Bastards of the Party (Dir. Cle Sloan, 2006).
Premier of 41st & Central: The untold story of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (Dir. Greg Everett, Forthcoming) with a discussion with Greg Everett and Roland Freeman
NOVEMBER 12—-- A FOURTH RECONSTRUCTION?: ORGANIZING IN POST-KATRINA AMERICA
ESSAY #3 DUE THIS WEEK IN DISCUSSION SECTION!!!
NOVEMBER 17—KATRINA -- SPEAKER FROM LABOR/COMMUNITY STRATEGY CENTER AND BUS RIDER’S UNION
***POST DRAFT OF WIKI SITE BY THE END OF THE DAY. SPEND THE WEEK EXAMINING EVERYONE’S SITE AND PLEASE WRITE COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS ON THE COMMENTS PAGE.
NOVEMBER 19— FILM: BUS RIDER’S UNION
NOVEMBER 24— MOVEMENT POLITICS AND THE HIP HOP GENERATION
Angela Ards, “Rhyme and Resist: Organizing the Hip Hop Generation,” Nation (July 26, 1999). POSTED
Jeff Chang, “This Ain’t No Party,” (2004)
Ishmael Reed, Michael Franti, and Bill Adler Hiphoprisy, “In Conversations,” Transition, No. 56. (1992), pp. 152-165. LINK THROUGH JSTOR
Davey D, “How to Organize Hip Hoppers,” (1999)
NOVEMBER 26—NO CLASS
DECEMBER 1— DISCUSS WEBSITES
DECEMBER 3—-- ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE? NEW MOVEMENTS AND POSSIBILITIES
**The final two dasy of class will be devoted to sharing the group web pages and imagining what future social movements might look like, and most importantly, what the world would look like if movements for social justice succeeded. Please finish the reading and be ready to discuss your ideas for “another world.”
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, chs. 5 and Afterword
Andrew Hsiao, Color Blind,” Village Voice (July 25, 2000), POSTED
Juan Gonzalez, “From Seattle to South Central: What the movement needs to do next,” In These Times (September 18, 2000). POSTED
CAAV Voice 2003 - War Abroad, War at Home: Movement Emergency
Download from http://www.caaav.org/resources/index.php
Peruse programs and workshops organized by Sista II Sista
Black Radical Congress, “Freedom Agenda.”
Grace Lee Boggs, “These are the Times that Try Our Souls,”
Ashanti Alston, “One Journey into and out of the Anarchist . . . Black!”
DECEMBER 6-- -Presentation at Southern California Library Holiday Event, December
6th-- at least one student representative from each group project
should attend and present.
Kelley / Page