Black People's Long Struggle Against Racism in America

Ref: C2419042

The fight for equality began before the War of Independence, continued through the struggle against slavery, to the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. It includes forgotten highs like Radical Reconstruction when Mississippi returned its first black senator in 1870.

Course aim

Understand how people of African descent have shaped their own role in US society. Examine at the specific roles of slavery and racism and resistance to them. Reading of contemporary voices will build their comprehension of the interactions between immigrants and established populations.

Who is the course for?

The course is one of a series of Black history classes. It is for people with a general interest in history. Previous knowledge will be welcomed in discussion, but is not necessary to take part. It will include slides and film clips.

What topics will this course cover

Topics covered will include: the growth of slavery; the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement; The Civil War and Radical Reconstruction; Populism and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan; Peak racism and Marcus Garvey’s UNIA; The Scottsboro Boys and the Communist Party; Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement; Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Black Power; The Rainbow Coalition and the Democrats; and Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1) List the key changes in black experience through US history 2) Explain changes in government policy towards the black minority 3) Identify the major shifts in the fight against racism in the US 4) Name and understand the ideas of the main black leaders

How will I know I'm making progress?

Through class discussion and feedback

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

It may be useful to bring a pen and paper to make notes

Reading and information sources

No prior reading is necessary. However Fergus M Bordewich's Bound For Canaan, telling the story of the Underground Railroad, James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom about the CIvil War, Jean M Humez's Harriet Tubman and WEB Du Bois's Black Reconstruction are all interesting (if long) background books.

What could the course lead to?

Further WEA courses

Download full course outline

Black People's Long Struggle Against Racism in America Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing