The History of Black Americans-Survey
Montclair State University, Department of History
Spring Term 2003
Professor F. Hutton
433 Dickson Hall
Office Hrs.:Thur.4:30-5:15 p.m.
By appointment: 8:15-9:00 p.m.
Course Description: History of Black Americans - A survey of the role of Americans of African descent in the development of the United
States. Contributions of Black Americans from initial discovery and exploration to mid-century. Meets the Multiculutral and Human
Intercultural and Relations requirements. 3 credits.
Required Textbooks: The Negro in the Making of America by B. Quarles
Black Americans (5th edition) by Alphonso Pinkney
The Early Black Press in America, 1827-1860 by Frankie Hutton
The African-American Odyssey (2nd edition) by Hine, Hine, and Harrold
Scope and Objectives: History 217 is a thematic and chronological survey of the Black experience in America from 1619 to the present It is
intended to whet the appetite of undergraduate students for further study, thought and research. Through lecture, film, required readings
and discussion, we will cover as much of the Black experience as is possible in a one-semester survey. We will begin with the introduction
of Carter G. Woodson as the father of Black American History and his strive to include this discipline in academe at every level. Beginning
briefly with African origins, we will move ahead to introduce students to aspects of the life, culture and contributions of Black Americans to
the whole of United States history. The intent is to show how this group has been an integral part of the building of the nation from its
inception. Further, the course will lift the awareness of students to some of the controversies and problems in the study of Black American
history. Keep in mind that the study of history if open to interpretation and historians do not always agree on fine points and events.
Summary of Work/Other Particulars: All work to be completed by students counts equally, that is to say each student is required to pass
four exams and to complete one recitation in class. Each of these components will count 20% of the final grade. Missed exams crush the
possibility for your best possible grade in the course, because the final grade is an average of all of your grades during the semester.
Missed exams or assignments, simply put, result in a grade of zero for the work missed.
Students should understand that make-up exams are a problem to the flow of the course in a number of ways: (1) such exams are an
inconvenience to other students enrolled in the course, because such special exams retard the process of returning graded exams to
them (2) Make-up exams also necessitate special scheduling for the professor and student outside of class and during office hours only
(3) Finally, make-up exams require the professor to compose different exam questions so as not to compromise the integrity of the original
exam. Thus, overall, make-up exams will only be administered in the most urgent circumstances such as documented health or other
emergency or when the student has to miss an exam for an official MSU reason. It is the students responsibility to track his/her
performance in the course and to take care not to miss class, notes, etc. In this regard, a study partner and or group study arrangement is
strongly suggested. When necessary, the professor is available during office hours to discuss or to help students to fortify notes and
readings .To ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the course, it is essential to ask questions as appropriate for clarity on certain
points. It is essential to read the texts by subject index and sections appropriate to each lecture and to study lecture notes - that goes
without saying, but it bears underscoring here. It should also be underscored that exceptional circumstances, handicaps and learning
accommodations should be documented and/or brought to the professor's attention as early as possible in the process of the course, at
least by the second session.
The recitation is included as a course requirement for several reasons, including (1) it is an opportunity for students to select and become
familiar with a primary source of their own choosing and one that may have special meaning. (2) Such recitations in class, without notes,
hark back similar exercises done by African-Americans in church programs, in community lyceums and similar progressive-minded,
uplifting endeavors. For this assignment, students may select lines from a sermon, a famous speech or even a government document
that relates to the Black experience. No poems or songs permitted for this assignments. The recitation should be carefully timed,
memorized and articulated to one minute, 60 seconds, without notes.
Please note that exams will be made up from lecture notes, textbook readings, discussions in class and any films that have been shown in
class. Students should be in class on time to listen and to participate in order to get full benefit from the course. On occasion, at the
professor's discretion, there may be an in-classroom exercise for extra credit. You must be present on the day of the offer to benefit from
1st Exam Thursday, Feb. 6th
2nd Exam Thursday, March 6th
Recitations Thursday, March 27th
3rd Exam Thursday, April 10th
4th Exam Thursday, May 1st
Great, One-Chance Opportunity for Extra Credit!
Earn up to 15 pts. for completing your recitation by 2/6.
If you elect this option, your lines should come from a speech
connected with the Black experience during the period 1619-1800.
Week One, Jan. 16th Course Orientation: Grading/Exams... etc.
African Origins of the Black Experience in America
Week Two, Jan. 23rd The Middle Passage/ Colonial Slavery--Beginnings
Week Three, Jan. 30th Rise of Plantation Slavery/ Blacks During the Revolution
Week Four, Feb. 6th Free Blacks/ The Black Press/ Abolitionists
Week Five, Feb 13th Focus on Frederick Douglass-- see Film
Week Six, Feb. 20th Slave Uprisings; Slavery---Tightening of Control
Week Seven, Feb. 27th The Turbulent 1850s--- John Brown's crusade
Week Eight, March 6th Blacks During Civil War era--overview
Week Nine, March 20th Civil War cont'd/ See Film excerpts "Glory"
Week Ten, March 27th Exam/ Reconstruction
Week Eleven, April 3rd Lynchings, Violence/ Ida Wells' campaign/ See Film
Week Twelve, April 10th Booker T. Washington/ W. E. B. DuBois/ Garvey
Week Thirteen, April 17th Scottsboro; flirtations with Communism/ Film Excerpts
World War I, Migration/ Harlem Renaissance
Week Fourteen, April 24th WWII/ Vietnam/ LBJ's vision for a "Great Society"
Martin Luther King/ Malcolm X/ Civil Rights Movement
Week Fifteen, May 1st Exam
Suggested Supplemental Reading:
The Atlantic Slave Trade, 2nd edition by David Northrup
The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South by John Blassingame
Selling Black History for Carter G. Woodson: A Diary by Lorenso Greene
Partying the Waters: America During the King Years, 1954-63 by Taylor Branch
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told by Alex Haley
Ida B. Wells-Barnette: An Exploratory Study of An American Black Woman, 1893-1930 by Mildred Thompson
Split Image: African Americans in the Mass Media, edited by Dates and Barlow
The Future of the Race by Henry Louis Gates and Cornell West
Blacks and White TV: Afrocam Americans in Television Since 1948 by Fred MacDonald
The Mind of Frederick Douglass by Waldo E. Martin, Jr.
Eyes of the Prize Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches and Firsthand Accounts From the Black Freedom Struggle, 1954-1990, edited
by Carson, Garrow and others
King, A Biography by David L. Lewis
W. E. B. DuBois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 by David L. Lewis
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington