Teaching African-American History

I have the opportunity this fall to teach African American history, post-1865.  By all rights, ZZ should be teaching this course, but he’s not in the neighborhood, so I get a crack at it.  It’s a small class–8-10 students–of juniors/seniors, so we should be able to do some interesting in-depth readings and discussions.  But I’ll admit that I’m in unknown waters, and I’d like to get your help.  Below is a list of books recommended to me by a good friend and, I should say, a respected scholar of African-American history.  How about you?  Suggestions for readings, syllabi you like, etc.?  I’m particularly interested in including something from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., given the fortunate teaching moment provided by his unfortunate arrest for the crime of living in his own house

Possible books for African-American History Post-1865:
Leon Litwack, Trouble in Mind
James Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow
some Washington / du Bois showdown
James Grossman, Land of Hope
All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw
Ida B. Wells Barnett, Southern Horrors
Litwack and Allen, eds., Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America
Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit
Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty
Patrick Jones, The Selma of the North
Timothy Tyson, Radio Free Dixie
Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story
David Hilliard, This Side of Glory
Flores Forbes, Will You Die With Me?
Carol Horton, Race the Making of American Liberalism
Obama, Dreams From My Father

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4 thoughts on “Teaching African-American History

  1. Hey ABW! I have a fondness for “Black is a Country” myself, by Nikhil Pal Singh. The Winthrop Jordan “White over Black” argument (probably not the whole book) plus Barbara J. Fields, “Ideology and Race in American History” is a pretty venerable teaching combo. And you have to do something with blackface and American pop culture, though I don’t have any suggestions in particular; Michael Rogin has an article about hollywood and race that I like (from before his book, blackface, white noise, I think) but most scholarship on blackface is annoyingly antebellum.

  2. Many thanks to g.e.w. and ZZ for their suggestions. I particularly like the Jordan/Fields combo. I haven’t heard of Hahn’s or Singh’s books…sigh. I wonder how many times I’ll be saying that phrase this semester. “I haven’t read that yet; I’ll be sure to check it out…” Embarrassing. Anyway: thanks for the tips. I’m off to make some decisions.

  3. Pingback: The Developing-Non-Aligned-De/Post-Colonial-Non-Western-Third-World « The Academy’s Bench Warmer

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