Black American History

Ref: C3125500

An introduction to key moments in Black American History focusing on: slavery and issues such as the black family, slave culture, rebellion and resistance; emancipation and freedom after 1865, Reconstruction, lynching, disenfranchisement, and the rise of segregation in the South - the "Jim Crow" system; the early origins of the civil rights movement, the birth of the NAACP, the "New Negro", "Jazz Age" through to World War II; the emergence of the modern civil rights movement after 1954, the role of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and the rise of the Black Power movement.

Course aim

To provide a brief overview of key points in Black American History and also provide the context for courses in Black Literature and Art.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Demonstrate awareness of the key points and issues in Black American History
  • Recognise some of the issues and debates surrounding American slavery
  • Demonstrate awareness of the successes and failures of the post-Civil War period and account for the rise of the system known as "Jim Crow"
  • Provide an over-view of the early origins and development of the civil rights movement between 1900 and 1945
  • Outline the key points and personalities in the rise of the modern civil rights movement between 1954 and 1970

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • 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?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • It would be useful f if you had the following books: Frederick Douglass, the Narrative Life of a Slave Richard Wright Black Boy and/or Maya Angelou, I know why the Caged Bird Sings Malcolm X, Autobiography

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • see texts mentioned above. Also useful various surveys of Black American History - John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom; Stephen Tuck, We ain't What We Ought to Be, and others.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • see other courses in Black American Literature and Art

Download full Course information sheet

Black American History


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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