If you were not one of the in-class discussion leaders today, please share your perspective on the readings in the comments section to this post. You are expected to share your comments no later than Thursday, March 6th at 9:35 a.m. (Pacific Standard Time).
This week we move on to our investigation of the Chicano student movement. We’ll begin that process by starting on our second course book–Racism on Trial, by Ian F. Haney-López. Lopez is a legal scholar and one of the major forces within “Latino Critical Race Theory.” His book is written is a very accessible way, and it tells a great story, too.
On Tuesday we will read the introduction and chapters 1-3 for our in-class collective discussion. We’ll also look at an LA Times article from spring 1968 that lists all the students demands related to the mass walkouts of the time. We’ll follow that up with a short lecture and structured discussion of the broader Chicano Student Movement.
On Thursday, we will watch a documentary in class, episode 3 of the 1996 series Chicano! A History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.
On Thursday you will also turn in the first part of your semester-long teaching project. Detailed instructions and expectations for this first step are provided to you in the “Assignments” page above. We also discussed a few things in class. The important part right now is for you to pick a historical primary source related to race movements in the modern U.S. The whole project hinges on that. Once you have that, you can frame a topic and some further questions based on that, as well as pick a few secondary sources to help you make sense of it.
We begin our first of three topic transitions this week as we move from the Black Freedom Struggle to the farmworker and Chicano/Latino movements. As we mentioned in class, this doesn’t mean we leave our discussion of African American movements behind. One of the fundamental arguments of our class relates to the interrelatedness of the movements we discuss and the potential for understanding when we examine them in concert with one another.
On TUESDAY we will have our regular class discussion based on a reading provided to you digitally. It is from the book The Union of their Dreams, by Miriam Pawel, and provided to you as DCR 9. To compliment the story of her book, we also read an article (DCR 10) by historian Lauren Araiza on the Black Panthers and their connection to the United Farmworkers movement.
On THURSDAY we will watch a documentary on the farmworker movement. You will also turn in your second Critical Evaluation exercise (CE2). This is a 2-3 page interpretation of the primary source provided to you as DCR 11. The document is called “El Plan de Delano,” and was largely written by playwright and activist Luis Valdez. If you’ve been keeping up with our readings you should be in a very strong intellectual position to develop an historical understanding of this important document.
Now also might be a good time to start thinking about our semester project, “Teaching the Freedom Struggle.” The first part of our project will be due on Thursday, March 6th. A detailed assignment sheet for the entire thing can be downloaded here.
Part 1 is really about finding at least one historical primary source and then building a set of research questions and a bibliography around it. This is, in effect, what you will “teach” in your project. There are many places to find historical primary sources online–and a growing number of them related to movements–but time is always a powerful ally. Use it wisely as you begin your search.
This week we will delve further into the history of SNCC, as we also introduce “black nationalism” and the turn toward revolutionary politics.
On Tuesday we’ll read the selected chapters from Black Against Empire, provided to you as DCR 07. As we mentioned in class, this is a new book that is the first comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers are an important organization for our class, inspiring countless other radical movements in the era. This reading is about 100 pages but I think you will find it a very interesting story. We’ll discuss the reading in our regular collective discussion.
To add to our understanding of SNCC, we will also watch the film “Freedom on My Mind.” To watch the film
- login to your personal Sakai account;
- select the blue tab called “CH HIST 25.1 SP14″;
- on the left sidebar of the class page menu click “Video Playlist”;
- and then access the film by clicking on our playlist.
The film should play directly in the Sakai window.
On Thursday we will have a lecture and short discussion on an article titled “Black Like Mao.” Written by acclaimed historian Robin D.G. Kelley, and provided to you as DCR 08, this piece will help us understand 60s radicalism in an international perspective. You should also listen to a speech by Stokely Carmichael, one of the names most associated with “Black Power.” The transcript and audio of the speech is available online.
This week we’ll discuss the life and career of Martin Luther King Jr. within the context of how “movement history” is constructed. We’ll also begin our study of the youth-led movements of the early Sixties, in particular the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, better known as SNCC (pronounced “Snick”).
On Tuesday we’ll have our regular, in-class collective discussion. It’s an interesting (and slightly different) set of readings. We’re reading March (Book One), a graphic novel written by Congressman John Lewis, one of the founders of SNCC. As I mentioned in class, this is his attempt to provide the same kind of accessible version of his life story that MLK did back in the 1950s. To compliment his narrative you also have a chapter to read from the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of King, Bearing the Cross. That reading is provided to you as DCR05.
For Tuesday’s class you are also expected to watch a documentary called “Freedom Riders.” It tells the thrilling story of youth activists and their bold attempt to desegregate the interstate bus system. To watch the film:
1. login to your personal Sakai account;
2. select the blue tab called “CH HIST 25.1 SP14″;
3. on the left sidebar of the class page menu click “Video Playlist”;
4. and then access the film by clicking on our playlist.
The film will play directly in the Sakai window. You will have to be on a Claremont Colleges network to view the film. If you have further problems, read the Video 47 instructions.
On Thursday we’ll have a longer lecture and a less formal discussion on another digital reading, selections from the award-winning book Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC. These testimonials are provided to you as DCR06.
Have a great weekend!
This week is all about the Montgomery bus boycott as we begin reading our first course book–The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It, by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson–and watch an episode of the famed PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize.
On Tuesday we will have our second collective discussion on chapters 1-6 in the book The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It. As I mentioned in class, this is not a scholarly text but it is as rich as any you will read on the movement. With first hand details about the organizing effort behind this famous historical event, Robinson gives us an important perspective from which to learn about the successes of the freedom struggle.
On Thursday we will watch part of a documentary related to the bus boycott. We’ll also get a chance to discuss how this major event is remembered differently from our various sources. To prepare, I ask that you read the few remaining chapters in the Robinson book, chapters 7-9.
Rosa Parks, circa 1956.