Black American Literature

Ref: C3125484

A four week introduction to African American experiences in the period since the 19th century up to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s as presented through selected literary representations. Examining extracts from 19th century autobiographies and exploring Alice Walker's 'Civil Rights Novel' Meridian as the course set text, we will critically discuss key moments and issues in literary responses to Black American experiences up to and including the Civil Rights movement.

Course aim

Black American Literature: from Slavery to Civil Rights. A critical discussion group examining some key texts of African American writing.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is for anyone who enjoys reading, who is interested in learning more about Black American experience, and who is willing to discuss their reading with others.

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

  • Demonstrate awareness of examples of Black American Literature
  • Have developed some understanding of key periods in African American history
  • Discuss examples of African American writing in a class situation
  • Have an awareness of the struggle for equality in Black American History

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • The class will be an informal tutor -led discussion group

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Extracts of some reading will be provided. Purchase Alice Walker's novel Meridian (1976) - any edition - and read ahead of the course

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Purchase and pre-read Alice Walker's 1976 novel Meridian (any edition). Any research on the subject of Slavery, Abolition, the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, the African American literary tradition, would be helpful.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Black American Literature


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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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