The African American Freedom Struggle

New York University Abu Dhabi, Fall 2017
History Elective (Atlantic Ocean World) / Crosslisted with Political Science

This course explores the African American freedom struggle in the United States. It analyzes its historical origins, African American emancipation during the Civil War and reconstruction, migration patterns and economic conditions in the agricultural and industrial sectors, “Jim Crow” laws and the “Separate, but equal” doctrine, as well as the impact of US military engagements and the Cold War on race relations during the 20th century.

The course examines the various challenges to legalized segregation in the aftermath of World War II, the powerful grassroots campaigns of African American civil rights activists and organizations during the 1960/70s and their political and cultural impact, and the emergence of black nationalism and black power.

It also traces the ways in which the struggle for racial equality in the US was perceived as part of a larger struggle against colonialism around the world. Furthermore, the course incorporates discussions about affirmative action, the “prison-industrial complex”, the notion of a “post-racial America” under the Obama administration into the broader context of an ongoing quest for equal rights and social justice in the US.