History 8078: African American Political and Social Thought, 1870-1940 Spring 2009

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History 8078: African American Political and Social Thought, 1870-1940 Spring 2009
Prof. Lawrence S. Little Liberal Art Center Rm. 431 Phone: 519-4676

Office Hours: Wednesday, 4:00-5:00, or by appointment

lawrence.little@villanova.edu www.homepage.villanova.edu/lawrence.little
Course Description: Often seen as a monolith within American society, African Americans, nevertheless, developed several, often conflicting, responses to the American racism that relegated them to second-class citizenry in an apartheid society. This course examines the development of various strains of political and social thought within the African American community during an era of increased institutionalized racism in the United States and across the globe. We will also examine and analyze the effectiveness of the rhetoric and actions produced by the various strains of thought. To analyze the responses, we will rely primarily on the words of those who sought leadership roles within the community, the nation, and the world.
Course Requirements: This course requires regular attendance and participation in the assigned readings. Each student will write a review on two outside books that are related to specific themes. Each student will also write two three-page analytical position papers and complete a choice of one of three term assignments.
Historiographical essay (10-15 pages): In the essay, you should demonstrate an understanding of how various African American leaders have attempted to address and solve the “Negro problem/question” in the United States. Critically analyze the social, cultural, political, economic, and educational ideology of each leader and how each attempted to place ideology into action. Consider the practicality of their goals and the effectiveness of their strategies and what you find appealing or unappealing about their positions. Does the “Negro problem/question” continue to exist?
Research project (10-15 pages): The project is to produce a research paper on an approved topic on African American political and social thought. Locate, analyze, and evaluate primary and secondary sources to answer a historical question and present your conclusions in a clear, concise, and convincing manner. The paper should also demonstrate an understanding of the themes and works covered in the course.
Option for Teachers: Using course themes and readings, create a two-week unit plan for teaching African American political and social thought to a 12th grade U.S. History class (AP). Lesson plans should include type and purpose of lesson, skills, objectives, resources, class procedures, and assignments.  Emphasize primary sources and include an overall purpose, general objectives, and examples of student outcome assessment techniques. 
Required Readings: Washington, Up From Slavery

DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

Cooper, A Voice from the South

Wells, Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Garvey, Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey

Locke, The New Negro: Voices of the Harlem Renaissance

Ellison, Invisible Man
Additional required readings are noted on the schedule of assignment.
Optional Readings: John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans

Nathan Huggins, et. al., eds., Key Issues in the Afro-American Experience

Thomas Holt and Elsa Brown, eds., Major Problems in African-American History

Thomas Frazier, Readings in African-American History
Grade Distribution:
Attendance and participation 10%

Review and position papers (3 x 15%) 45%

Interpretive essay 45%
Grade Characteristics:
A/A-: Excellent; shows ambition, flair; close reading of materials and critical analysis; clear, concise, and fully developed argument; strong textual support for all points; no grammatical or organizational errors.
B+/B/B-: Good; some elements of an A; “safe,” argument not fully developed; some inaccuracies; flaws in critical analysis, grammar, and organization; no real risks in the argument.
C+/C/C-: Fair; lazy regurgitation of facts, little analysis; misinterpretation of texts or basic themes; major grammatical and/or organizational errors.
D+/D: Poor work; sloppy; unacceptable grammatical and/or organizational errors.
Reading Schedule: The reading assignments for each unit should be read IN FULL before the date listed for discussion.
Introduction Racism and American Apartheid

January 14 Lecture and discussion; Williams, History of the Negro Preface, Preface and Contents (w); The History of Jim Crow (w); The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow (w);

Jim Crow Museum (w)

Issues: What is race? What is racism?
Theme 1 The Political Economy of “Accommodation”

January 21 Readings: Washington, Up From Slavery

28 Readings: Meier, “Booker T. Washington: An Interpretation” (r)

Issues: Was Washingtonian philosophy accommodationist? What implications? Were the concepts of racial solidarity and self-help discriminatory?
Theme 2 Agitation and Protest

February 4 Readings: DuBois, Souls of Black Folks

11 Readings: Broderick, “The Gnawing Dilemma: Separatism and Integration, 1865-1925” (r)

Issues: Who had the more practical and realistic philosophy for the advance of African Americans in 1900, Washington or DuBois? (1st position paper)
Theme 3 Feminism, Patriarchy, and Racism

February 18 Readings: Cooper, A Voice from the South; Terrell, “The Duty of the NACW”(r)

25 Readings: James, “Profeminism and Gender Elites”(r); White, “Race and Feminism”(r); Giddings, “To Be a Woman, Sublime: The Ideas of the National Black Women’s Club Movement (to 1917)” (r)

Issues: Did the African American struggle for “manhood” hurt black women?

Theme 4 Gender and Racial Violence

March 11 Readings: Wells, Crusade for Justice; Without Sanctuary (w)

  1. Readings: Readings: James, “Sexual Politics: An Antilynching Crusader in Revisionist Feminism”; Giddings, “‘To Sell My Life as Dearly as Possible’: Ida B. Wells and the First Antilynching Campaign” (r)

Issues: How did gender and sexuality affect race relations in the South? (2nd position paper

Theme 5 Black Nationalism and Self-Determination

March 25 Readings: Garvey, Philosophy and Opinions; Turner, “The American Negro and His

Fatherland”; Ali, “Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple”

April 1 Readings: Redkey, “The Flowering of Black Nationalism: Henry McNeal Turner and Marcus Garvey”; Walker, “The Virtuoso Illusionist: Marcus Garvey” (r);

American Experience: Marcus Garvey (w)

Issues: Were any of the goals of black nationalism attainable?
Theme 6 The Harlem Renaissance and the “New Negro”

April 8 Readings: Locke, The New Negro

April 15 Readings: Levine, “The Concept of the New Negro and the Realities of Black Culture (r);

Op View, “Should African Americans Emphasize Their Black Heritage?” (r); Schomburg: Harlem, An Af-Am Community, 1900-40 (w)

Issues: Should African American artists emphasize their black culture? Did African American culture perpetuate segregation and notions of inferiority?
Conclusions Panaceas, Illusions, and Synthesis

April 29 Readings: Ellison, The Invisible Man

Issues: What is the future of race relations in American society? Are non-African American scholars able to research and teach African American history successfully?

Prof. Little: African American Political and Social Thought Spring 2009
The Two-book Written and Oral Review
Purpose: The assignment requires that you read two books, write a separate report for each, and compose a one to one-and-a-half page single-spaced review of the two books that relate both books to the assigned readings and major themes of the seminar. You will also prepare a 5 minute oral presentation of your analysis and be ready to answer questions from your fellow students.
This assignment is intended to help you gain experience on how to review, analyze, and evaluate historical works, edited and monographs. A related purpose involves how to write concise and clear prose. Still a third purpose is to furnish you and your fellow students with concise yet informative reviews of important books in the field. The instructions below may appear rather rigid; however, careful thinking and rewriting of your prose should refine your analytical abilities. These reviews will be guides for your fellow students who have not read the books, but who desire to become “familiar” with them. Thus, you should remind yourself that directness and clarity are valued highly in this assignment.
The Written Portion
General instructions: First, read over the “sample” written report. Note the eight structural divisions for each book review. Your report must have all of these and in this order. Also note the use of complete sentences (except in the sections on biography, scope, and sources).

The “Discussion” page includes elaborations of points found on the one-page review. The organization of the discussion is open more to your inclinations than is the one-page review. The essence of each book should guide you in composing the discussion, but you should strive to fit the books into the course themes and the weekly readings as much as possible. Consider prominent or questionable theses, documentation, organization and style, or significance to historiography. Be evaluative.

Specific instructions: Each book review will appear on one side of one page only, contain suitable margins, and include each of the eight sections (title, author, scope, sources, theses, style of presentation, importance, reviews consulted). Do not use more than one page per book; do not assume that you can extend the report of one book to the next page and simply shorten the report of the second book. Thus, the entire report should contain no more than three and a half pages--no exceptions. Avoid creative margining and type-sizing. Make enough copies for each of your fellow students and two copies to me. Use page numbers when quoting from the books or reviews (avoid excessive quotes) and consult at least two reviews for each book.
Final note: In order to do well on this assignment, you will need to read the two books and the assigned readings well before the assignment is due. See me during office hours or by appointment if you have any questions.

Your name History XXXX Semester and Year Prof. Little

The New Deal and Its Legacy: Critique and Reappraisal (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987) Preface, Introduction, Bibliography, Index, 263pp.
Author: Work edited by Robert Eden, prof. of political science. Contributors include Hiram Canton, humanities; Peter Coleman, Ellis Hawley, history; Charles Kesler, Sidney Milkis, political science; Don Paarlberg, agricultural economics; John Rohr, public administration; and Arthur Shenfield, economics and law.
Scope: Works stem from series of conferences sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives at Hillsdale College. The authors examine the intentions behind and the consequences of New Deal politics and policies.
Sources: Various works range from light or no documentation to extensive primary and secondary research including public records, memoirs, private papers, and legal briefs.
1) Paarlberg maintains that New Deal agricultural reforms benefited the agriculture elite at the expense of farm tenants and employees and widened the income gap between big and little farmers.

2) Coleman asserts that the massive federal intervention into many aspects of American social and economic life that characterized the New Deal was the culmination of the American version of a worldwide phenomenon--the interventionist state that maintains minimum standards of human well being.

3) According to Hawley, anti-bureaucratic traditions--corporative, neo-populist, empowered interest groups, and emergency formulas--within the New Deal constrained the bureaucratic formation of the administrative state.

4) Comparing the principles in New Deal administrative reform reports with the principles of the founding Federalists and Anti-Federalists, Rohr determines that the establishment of the administrative state was in some sense a reenactment of the founding of the Republic.

5) Milkis contends that the New Deal established the foundation of a more national and programmatic political party system and an executive bureaucracy that displaced party politics.

6) Kesler maintains that Roosevelt built upon the “public philosophy” (principles and justifications) of Wilson’s New Freedom to redefine democracy and the task of government--to seek and administer the production and the consumption of “better things” (183).

7) According to Shenfield, the New Deal produced government by judiciary which severely curtailed the rights of property (liberty), reinforced a new right of privacy not mentioned in the Constitution, and expanded the power of government.

8) Canton asserts that FDR was a conservative president who led a conservative coalition that espoused vintage American liberalism in the Federalist tradition.

Style of presentation: Though they vary in style from narrative to topical, all of the essays are analytical and coherent.
Importance: Taken together the essays provide an examination of the New Deal from new angles, fresh approaches. The essays reveal the complexities, problems, and consequences of developing and implementing New Deal programs.
Reviews: JAH (December, 1986); AHR (May, 1986).

Your name History XXXX Semester and Year Prof. Little
A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergence of Civil Rights as a National Issue (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), Preface, Index, 397 pp.
Author: Harvard Sitkoff, Columbia Univ. PhD. '75; Professor of History, Univ. of New Hampshire; interests in 20th Cent. America, Afro-American; The Struggle for Black Equality, 1954-1980 (1981); Edited, Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated (1985) and A History of Our Times: Readings on Postwar America (1983).
Scope: Sitkoff examines the African American struggle for civil rights and race relations during the Depression and New Deal era.
Sources: Extensive use of primary and secondary sources including private papers, government and organization records, and newspapers and journals.
1) During the 1930's and 40's black expectations rose, black powerlessness decreased and white indifference on racial matters diminished constituting “a watershed of developments whose outgrowth was a broad-based social movement aimed at bringing about a fuller participation for blacks in American society” (ix).

2) The New Deal gave substantive and symbolic support for the black struggle by giving federal government recognition of and responsibility for the plight of African Americans, thereby creating an atmosphere for reform.

3) The increased importance of the black vote and a rift concerning New Deal reform in the conservative coalition helped give African Americans their most effective political power since Reconstruction.

4) The American Left and organized labor made the struggle for black equality part of the progressive agenda and helped politicize African Americans and increase the militancy of civil rights groups.

5) Black scholars, authors, and artists contributed to an emerging intellectual consensus that rejected notions of innate inferiority, emphasized the damage done by racism, and depicted prejudice as a sickness.

6) In the New Deal atmosphere of interventionist judiciary with a vigorous concern for human rights, black attorneys won significant reversals of previous decisions that had legitimized the unequal status of African Americans.

7) Although the anti-lynching crusade failed to obtain federal laws, it altered the attitudes of many white Americans and forged interracial coalitions.
Style of presentation: Thematic, concise, and analytical, the author presents an even-handed picture of African American struggles during the Depression and the New Deal.
Importance: Sitkoff’s broad account is an excellent survey of race relations during the period. Although he postulates no new reinterpretation, he adds much needed detail, provides a blueprint for additional studies (each chapter could easily be turned into a monograph), and gives African American an active voice in affairs that concern them.
Reviews: AHR (October, 1979); JAH (September, 1979)

The New Deal and Its Legacy, edited by Robert Eden, and A New Deal for Blacks, written by Harvard Sitkoff, reveal the complexities of examining an era that has had a lasting and profound effect on the interactions of modern government in American society. The New Deal and Its Legacy contains twelve different essays by eleven different authors, each approaching the New Deal from a different angle. The essay by Coleman, which focuses on the emergence of the interventionist state, provides a sort of central theme to the essays with each author examining the emergence in one way or another.

Whether examining the emergence of the administrative state or the welfare/warfare state or the "baleful" activism of the Supreme Court or the reorientation of the American political party system, the authors seem to suggest that Roosevelt developed and attempted to implement a coherent ideology on the role of government in American society. Opposing the views of Hofstadter, Schlesinger, Conklin, and others, the authors maintain, some more explicitly than others, that FDR, though willing to try a wide range of methods, articulated a constant ideology and goal.

FDR, like Wilson, believed government was like a living organism, ever-changing, ever-evolving to keep pace with an ever-changing American society. Roosevelt redefined the role of government in an effort to provide minimum standards of social and economic life. In many ways, Roosevelt redefined “public good.” Much of what the authors contend fits well with Susman’s view of the 30's of Americans attempting to reconcile technological and economic realities by redefining American values.

Of course, not every author would agree with this assessment. Hawley for instance, rather than view the New Deal as a redefinition of American ideal would place the New Deal well within the American reform tradition. Shenfield views the New Deal as overthrowing rather than redefining American values. Still, both view the New Deal as a period of significant change.

The theme of redefining American values also fits quite well in Sitkoff's New Deal for Blacks. Sitkoff convincingly maintains that during the 1930's and 40's Americans, black and white, began to reevaluate and redefine the status of race relations in America. African Americans and their allies began effectively to challenge derogatory prevalent racial theories and pseudo sciences. African Americans voters and civil rights groups acquired real power for the first time since Reconstruction.

Much of the status of African Americans changed because the New Deal for the first time acknowledged the role of government in ameliorating the plight of African Americans. Although the condition of African Americans improved only slightly, more importantly the seeds for greater change were planted during this period. Again, Susman's account of the period also views seeds planted that will be cultivated in the future.

Sitkoff also fills a void left by Susman’s exclusion of African Americans during the period. Sitkoff shows how American culture reflected changing attitudes toward African Americans. Americans, conditioned by the Depression and Nazism, became receptive to African American literature and the theme of the oppressed African American. Films, novels, and radio began to tone down more blatant examples of racism, and African Americans began to receive roles apart from the traditional servant or criminal. Although changes were small and slow, Sitkoff clearly demonstrates the new attitudes in American culture.

Taken together, these two books make conclusions easy. The New Deal was conservative; the New Deal was liberal; the New Deal was both; the New Deal was neither.

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