Posted by: profe | April 27, 2017


Our last class will be this Tuesday, May 2.  We’ll begin the class with a few songs, songs which are reflective of the political times in which we live.  I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for which songs to play. Just leave them in the comments section of this post.

We’ll also get a chance to have one last discussion.  The reading we will use is James Baldwin’s famous 1963 letter to his nephew, “My Dungeon Shook.” It is from Baldwin’s powerful book The Fire Next Time, and it is provided to you as DCR 24.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say this but it is my favorite reading of your semester. While it is short, it is amazingly packed with insight.  I would appreciate you spending some time with it this weekend and coming to class prepared to share your perspectives.

We’ll also use just a few minutes of class time sharing the questions we are answering in our semester project.  Please come prepared to share that question.  The final projects are all due no later than Thursday, May 4 at 9:35AM.  They must be uploaded as a “draft” post on our WordPress site.  I highly recommend you try this out well in advance of Thursday morning, just to be sure you know what you’re doing.

Be well until then…

Posted by: profe | April 21, 2017


We’re nearly at the end of our time together. In the next week and a half you will need to be attentive to our last remaining steps together. Some of that has changed, as you will read below.

This is our last full week of the semester.  This Tuesday we’ll have an in class discussion on the readings, pages 278-283 in the book Asian Americans: the Movement and the Moment and an article on the San Francisco State TWLF strike, “With the Soul of a Human Rainbow” (provided to you as DCR 22).

After our discussion we will talk about how we turn in our final assignment, the “Teaching Narrative.” It will be due no later than 9:35AM on Thursday, May 4. It must be uploaded to WordPress, ready for me to make it go “live” as part of our class website. We will discuss how you do this in class.

On Thursday we will read two things, a short but powerful piece by Martin Luther King Jr. titled “The Last Steep Ascent” (DCR 23) and an article titled “The Price of a Black President” (accessible online).  We’ll also have an in-class quiz, very similar to the earlier one we took. This one will only relate to material we’ve covered since the break.

For our last class (on Tuesday, May 2) I am going to play a few songs of your choosing, songs you feel capture the political moment of the present. Please think about a song or two and email me your suggestions at your convenience.

Posted by: profe | April 6, 2017


We begin our final class transition this week as we move to examine Asian American movements for change.

On Tuesday I will give you a brief overview of the scholarly field with respect to Asian Americans and some the significant themes of our class. We will also have a collaborative discussion on the course readings, pages 16-100 in the book Asian Americans: The Movement and the Moment. This is a very different kind of book, scholarly in its analysis but an accessible “people’s history” in its tone and presentation.  As you write your “prep sheet” for our in-class discussion it might be useful to begin the work of “thinking big” to forge some larger class conclusions through your examination of the Asian American movement.

I also ask you to watch a wonderful segment from Democracy Now! on the legendary figure Yuri Kochiyama. The segment begins at around the 27 minute and 28 seconds mark on the video at this link.

On Thursday we’ll have a lecture on the Vietnam War supplemented by an analysis of some primary documents.



Yuri Kochiyama cradles the fallen Malcolm X after he is fatally shot on February 21, 1965, Audubon Ballroom, Washington Heights, New York City.

Posted by: profe | March 30, 2017

WEEK 12: Peltier

With only 5 weeks left in the semester, we’re nearing the end of our semester. While we’re over the workload “hump” of the semester, we do have some very significant topics left to cover.  I appreciate your steady focus and effort as we do.

This week we continue our learning about the American Indian Movement (AIM). On Tuesday we will READ part IV of the book Prison Writings: My Life is a Sun Dance, by Leonard Peltier. (It is provided to you as DCR 20.) in the United States, few people are more associated with the term “political prisoner” than is Leonard Peltier. He is also an important figure in the evolving narrative of our class, made all more so by the fact of his imprisonment since 1977. Before you do the reading, I ask that you do some research on who Peltier is as well as the conditions and controversies of his imprisonment. As always, come to class prepared to discuss the readings, with your “prep sheet” printed out.

We’ll follow up our discussion with a short lecture on the F.B.I. and some of its “counterinsurgency” efforts during the movement era.  To prepare for that discussion, I ask that you check out an article from the New York Times called “Burglars Who Took on F.B.I.,” which can be found here. A short mini-documentary )about 14 minutes long) accompanies the piece. I also ask that you listen to the audio story “Student ‘Subversives’ and the F.B.I.’s ‘Dirty Tricks'” (which is about 28 minutes long), accessible online from NPR.

On Thursday we will discuss the emergence of movements within communities of color to combat sexism and patriarchy.  We’ll do that by reading and discussing an article on the “Third World Women’s Alliance” (provided to you as DCR 21). Our in-class discussion will not be like our normal discussion, but it will include us all.  We’ll also discuss a bit more about the final project.

Posted by: profe | March 23, 2017

WEEK 11: Red Power

This week we will delve deeply into American Indian movements of the 60s and 70s.

On Tuesday, we have two readings on the history of the period. The first, DCR 16, is a chapter from the book Agents of Repression: the F.B.I.’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall.  Churchill is something of a controversial figure.  You can learn more about him online. The second reading, DCR 17, is a chapter from the book Blood Struggle: the Rise of Modern Indian Nations, by Charles Wilkinson. It’s a truly exceptional book.

Compose your weekly “prep sheet” in relation to these readings, either one or both together. Be mindful of forging at least one analytical conclusion rooted to the text.

On Thursday we will watch a documentary in class. “Alcatraz is Not An Island” is a film detailing the occupation of Alcatraz by Indian activists, in the San Francisco Bay. You also have a document to read for the movie–the “The Alcatraz Proclamation”–a one-page document provided to you as DCR 18.

On Thursday you will also turn in your final Critical Evaluation exercise.  This 2-3 page examination of a primary source is meant to be written on “The Trail of Broken Treaties” statement, provided to you as DCR 19. Wikipedia can provide you a cursory overview of the events related to this document.  It’s a longer document, so the goal is not to summarize and analyze all of it. Instead, pick one or more sections and frame an analytical perspective based on that selected text.  What does it tell us about the past? Be mindful of showing us how you arrive at that conclusion through an intentional engagement with the text.

Posted by: profe | March 20, 2017

WEEK 10: The Young Lords and Red Power

We’ve reached the halfway point of our time together! I hope you have a relaxing and/or productive spring break.  It’s a quick ride to the end of the semester so stay focused!

This week we’ll wrap-up our discussion of Latino movements and then begin our transition to discussing Native American movements of the era. On Tuesday we will have our regular in-class discussion on two digital readings, DCR 13 and 14.  Both relate to the Puerto Rican organization known as the Young Lords. Please bring your “prep sheet” to class.

On Thursday we’ll begin framing our discussion of the “Red Power” era of Native American political activism. You have one reading related to the topic, a chapter from a wonderful book that helps set the stage.  That reading is provided to you as DCR 15.


You will also turn in the first part of your semester project on Thursday.  The assignment sheet is fairly clear and straightforward, as is the assignment. The key is really choosing your historical document (the “primary source”).  Once you do that, just figure out what questions that source can answer.  Then find scholarly secondary sources (books and articles) that help you build on that.  I highly recommend using the database JSTOR (available through our library) for finding scholarly articles related to your document.

Posted by: profe | March 2, 2017

Week 8: CHICANO!!

We’re at the half way point! This week we will delve into the Mexican American youth movements of the 1960s, summarily called the Chicano Movement, or, simply, el movimiento.

Our conversation begins on Tuesday when we discuss chapters 2-5 from the book Mi Raza Primero! My People First, provided to you as DCR 11.  As always, write your “prep sheet 7” and bring it to class.

In order to better understand the history referenced in the book, and to prepare for the assignment you have on Thursday, I ask that you watch the documentary we were going to watch in class last week.  “Taking Back the Schools” is the third episode of the four-part PBS documentary series called Chicano! A History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement (1995).  Specifically, this episode tells the history of the 1968 walkouts.

On Thursday you will read a document and turn in your second Critical Evaluation Exercise.  The document is a newspaper article titled “Demands Made by East Side High School Students Listed.” It’s provided to you as DCR 12.

Posted by: profe | February 27, 2017

Week 7: The UFW and the Walkouts

This week our discussion turns to Chicano and Latino movements of the Sixties beginning with the United Farm Workers movement of Cesar Chavez.

On TUESDAY our class discussion is on an excerpt from the book The Union of their Dreams, by Miriam Pawel.  It’s provided to you as DCR 10.  To contrast with the book, you are also expected to watch the documentary “The Fight in the Fields” (available via Youtube). Be sure and write your “prep sheet” in relation to the book.

On THURSDAY we will watch two parts of a documentary series on the Chicano Movement. We’ll also get a chance to look at a historical document from el movimiento and talk about “Chicano nationalism.”

As we discussed in class, I have moved the due date for the first part of our semester project (the Question and Sources assignment) to Thursday, March 23.  That new due date is now listed on the course website but it will not be any different on the syllabus or the assignment sheet.

Posted by: profe | February 17, 2017

WEEK 6: Black Power

We conclude the first of three “transitions” this week as we move from the Black Freedom Struggle to the farmworker and Chicano/Latino movements. This doesn’t mean we leave our discussion of African American movements behind.  One of the fundamental arguments of our class is that there is a profound interrelatedness of the movements we study and a meaningful understanding can occur when we examine them in concert with one another.

To begin to suggest that interrelatedness, we’ll be reading and writing about one topic this week while also learning about another. On TUESDAY we’ll read selected chapters from the book Black Against Empire, provided to you as DCR 08. As I mentioned in class, this is a groundbreaking 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. We’ll discuss the reading in our regular collective discussion. As usual, write your “prep sheet” in anticipation of being selected to participate in the seminar.

We’ll follow-up our in-class discussion with an interactive lecture on “black power.”

On THURSDAY we will watch part of a documentary on the Black Panther Party.  You are also expected to read a few chapters from a book on organizer Fred Ross.  Ross was a formidable figure in 20th century Mexican American history.  You’ll get a slice of that in the reading, which is provided to you as DCR 09.

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 2nd. A detailed assignment sheet for the entire project can be downloaded from our Assignments page, along with other resources to guide your thinking. The key at this stage is about framing an usable questions and identifying both “primary” and “secondary” sources to use in answering it. Finding primary sources takes time, so please start now.


Posted by: profe | February 10, 2017

WEEK 5: SNCC, Malcolm, and the Panthers

This week we will delve further into the history of SNCC, as we also introduce “black nationalism” and the late-sixties turn toward revolutionary politics.

On Tuesday we’ll read a graphic novel.  March (Book Three) is the last part of a three-part telling of the story of Congressman John Lewis.  It is many things but it is not a scholarly text. As you read it, however, be mindful that it isn’t just for fun.  Lewis is out to tell a story of a very important time in his life and in the life of this country.  He has a point; and, like a person toward the end of a profoundly successful life of struggle, he has a developed sense of what his life has meant.  We should read this, then, as a meaning-making document on his part.  In it we can learn about the times but also how a movement participant makes sense of those times from his position in the present.

[Just so you know, the story begins in book one on the inauguration day of Barack Obama, on January 20, 2009.  A young boy has come into Lewis’ office just as he is about to walk out to the ceremony. He begins recounting his story to the boy. The suggestion is that this is part of the story of that historic day.]

You are also asked to watch the film “Freedom on My Mind,” available on our Sakai site.

On Thursday we will have a lecture on “radicalism” as we discuss a speech by Stokely Carmichael (found here).  You should listen to the speech before coming to class.  Before you do so, you should also look up who Stokely Carmichael was.

On Thursday we’ll also have a short, in-class quiz.


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