History 335 (201) African-American History, 1850 to the Present




Course Level





This course interrogates a variety of issues in the history of Americans of African ancestry from the decade before to the U.S. Civil War through 2016, and the focus will be on the continuities between the past and the present. A central focus of the course is the 19th Century and the problems of emancipation and Reconstruction, the period immediately after the Civil War. We concentrate on the 19th Century because three of the most important questions in African-American History, in U.S. History, in Western History, and indeed in World History – the meaning of freedom, of democracy, and of race – come into sharp focus in this period. The definitions that various groups gave or tried to give to these ideas and to practices of them in the 19th Century continue to shape our world – often, as we have recently seen, in distressing ways.