WEEK 9 (Mar. 21 & 23)

I hope you had a safe and restful break! We have 6 and one half weeks left of class. In that time we’re going to learn more about the Chicano movement, as well as movements led by Puerto Ricans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. As we do, we’ll learn more about feminism as a radical movement. Beyond our regular reading and discussion, we’ll also spend some time working on our semester project.

TUESDAY (March 21)
We’ll get back into the swing of things with a reading and discussion chapter 2 from the book on the Chicano movement in Los Angeles (DCR 18). As usual, you job is to prepare–IN ADVANCE OF CLASS–a list of insightful and analytical questions related to the reading. These questions should be answerable and rooted to the text. They should also deepen our understanding of our class topics and themes. We’ll use those in our regular collaborative discussion exercise, at the start of class.

With the remaining time we’ll have a short lecture on other aspects of the Chicano movement.

THURSDAY (March 23)
We’ll use our class time to learn about the Young Lords Organization, a revolutionary group of Puerto Ricans, most enduringly active in New York. You don’t have any readings for that day so that you have more time to work on PART 1 of our semester project. Just come to class prepared to learn!

PROJECT PART 1 (due no later than Saturday, March 25 at 11:59PM)
To give you a little more breathing room between the break and this assignment, I have changed the due date as noted above. I will provide a handout overview of our “Teaching the Freedom Struggle” semester project in class this week. i short, you are going to create a “teaching plan” for a comparative topic related to our class.

PART 1 of the project is fairly simple. You have to identify TWO historical primary documents related to TWO different movements AND design a list of analytical questions that begin to frame a comparative analysis of those documents. Over the three parts of the project you will be applying the skills we’ve been working on for the last two months. In this part, that means thinking analytically about two historical documents and framing questions to demonstrate your thinking.

For this first part of the project, you should turn in ONE single PDF file that contains three things: 1) a document listing a properly formatted citation for both of your historical documents and a list of questions you can ask them to frame a comparative analysis; 2) a full and original and complete copy of your first historical primary document; and 3) a full and original and complete copy of your second historical primary document. The single, combined PDF file should be named “LastName-PART1.pdf” and turned in via Sakai.

I look forward to seeing you all soon. Be well until then…

WEEK 7 (Feb. 28 & Mar. 2)

We’re making the next big switch in our class story, this time beginning our learning about movements led by and focused on Latines, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. This doesn’t mean we leave our learning and discussion about the Black Freedom Struggle and African Americans behind. Quite the contrary.

We’ll begin class with a collaborative discussion on two readings on the farmworker movement. The first is chapter 1 from the book To March for Others: The Black Freedom Struggle and the United Farm Workers, by Lauren Araiza (DCR 13). The second is a “testimonio” of Filipino organizer Philip Vera Cruz––“The most important $2 in my life” (DCR 14). As always, please prepare your discussion questions and/ prompts BEFORE COMING TO CLASS, and be ready to use those as part of our collaborative work.

We’ll follow the discussion with a short lecture on Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers’ movement.

We’ll use our class time to watch part of a documentary and review the format of our in-class test (happening on Thursday, March 9). We’ll also discuss two short readings––a piece by legendary Chicana activist Betita Martinez “Neither Black Nor White…” (DCR 15) and the preamble from the “Plan de Aztlán” (DCR 16), a primary document we’ll learn more about in the documentary.

Be well until then…

WEEK 6 (Feb. 21 & 23)

This focus of this week is the turn toward “Black Power” within the freedom struggle. We’ll learn about that through readings about the Black Panther Party and in our next Document Analysis assignment.

We’ll read chapters 2-3 (DCR 11) from Black Against Empire, a richly-sourced book on the history of the Black Panther Party. As usual, we’ll discuss these chapters in our collaborative format. Please prepare for that discussion by bringing 3-5 discussion questions and/or discussion prompts related to the text. We’ll follow that discussion with a short lecturw.

We’ll continue our discussion of “Black Power” via an in-class lecture and your next Document Analysis assignment. The document is title “SNCC Statement,” drawn from a pamphlet related to a group known as the “Fort Hood Three” (DCR 12). I provide a bit more of that pamphlet, to help you understand the particularities of this cause. The only source you have to write about, however, is the SNCC statement.

In order to help you with your analysis, I ask you to watch another episode from the historic PBS series Eyes on the Prize. This episode is titled “The Times Has Come,” and it puts the rise of Black Power in a more detailed context. It’s only 57 minutes long, and it’s available on Sakai. I recommend you read the document first, watch the film, and then read the document again, all to develop your historical analysis and evaluation of it.

Please submit your assignment as a PDF to our Sakai “Drop Box.” In order to prevent your assignment from disappearing during my download, name the PDF “LastNameFirstNameInitial2.pdf” (mine would be “SummersSandovalT2.pdf”). After you upload the file, please double check to see it is in your Drop Box. If you don’t see it, neither will I.

Be well, be healthy, and be good. Until next time…

Black Panther press conference in Oakland, Calif., after the shooting of one of 17-year old Bobby Hutton in 1968.

WEEK 5 (Feb. 14 & 16)

This week is all about the early 60s, when we’ll dig deep into the first phase of the history of SNCC while also learning more about the radical traditions within the Black Freedom Struggle that resonated more and more with a new generation of activists.

We’ll start our class with a collaborative discussion on a chapter from the legendary book I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, by Charles Payne. It’s available to you as DCR 9. This week, make a special effort to craft “analytical” questions and discussion prompts on specific parts of the text.

We’ll follow our discussion with a lecture on the political philosophies of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

Our class will be about SNCC and the increasing turn toward more radical politics. I ask you to cover two sources before coming to class. The first is the documentary “Freedom on My Mind,” an exceptional study of SNCC and their activity at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. It’s about 1 hour and 50 minutes, and it’s available to you on Sakai.

I also ask you to read a short piece titled “Letter to My Adolescent Son,” by SNCC activist Jean Wiley. It is on Sakai as DCR 10.

Be well, be safe, and be good until then…

WEEK 4 (Feb. 7 & 9)

We’re beginning an exciting few weeks in our class, a period when we’ll learn about the youth movement and SNCC (“Snick”); the challenges posed by MLK and Malcolm X, and the rise of “Black Power” (with a focus on the Black Panther Party).

We start our journey by reading chapters 1-2 from the legendary book on the history of SNCC, by historian Clayborne Carson. The readings are provided to you as DCR 6. As always, in advance of class, prepare  your list of 3-5 discussion questions or prompts (which we’ll use in our collaborative discussion exercise). We’ll start class by selecting 6-7 of you to participate in our exercise, and then follow that up with a short lecture.

We’ll have a lecture in class, but we’ll also have an all-class discussion on three sources. The first is the 2010 documentary by Stanley Nelson, titled Freedom Riders. The film–which is about 2 hours long–is available to you on Sakai. We’ll analyze the movement history depicted in the film, but you will be responsible for knowing the historical events that comprise its story.

The other two sources are historical primary documents. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is perhaps the most famous historical document related to the movement era. DCR 7 provides you the original statement by local clergy that incited his letter, as well as his eloquent response. The final source is a first-hand testament by Constance Curry, a civil rights legend who was an early member of SNCC. Her “An Official Observer” is provided to you as DCR 8.

Be well, be safe, and be good until next we meet… 

WEEK 3 (Jan. 31 & Feb. 2)

We’ll read and discuss Jo Ann Robinson’s The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It this week. This first-hand account by one of the boycott’s leaders is a great opportunity to learn about this historic event as well as the kinds of work that made it both possible and successful.

It’s not a difficult book to read, or a long one, but it is a book. I recommend you space out your reading a little bit at a time over the next week.

We’ll read Chapters 1-6 in the Robinson book and discuss the readings in our collaborative discussion format. As always, prepare 3-5 questions or discussion prompts on the text. We’ll follow-up our discussion with a short lecture providing some more details and analysis of the boycott.

We’ll finish the Robinson book by reading Chapters 7-9. We’ll discuss them for part of class, in an informal discussion involving everyone. For the second half of class we’ll watch part of an episode of Eyes on the Prize, the now legendary documentary series from 1987, produced by PBS.

To help our discussion, I also ask you to read a one-page primary historical document, provided to you as DCR 5.

The below clip is of Thurgood Marshall being interviewed by journalist Mike Wallace in 1957, about three years after the Brown v. Board decision.

WEEK 2 (Jan. 24 & 26)

We’ll start building our class story together as we discuss the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. We’ll also turn in our first Document Analysis Exercise.

FRIDAY (Jan. 20)
Your informal “Who are YOU?” assignment is due via email no later than January 20th at 12:00 noon. The assignment is described in detail on page 4 of the syllabus (or in the WORK page, above).

After a song, we’ll start class with our first “collaborative discussion,” where we’ll discuss “A Life of Being Rebellious,” by Jeanne Theoharis (DCR 2), and a chapter (“The Court Decides”) from James Patterson’s book on Brown v. Board (DCR 3). As we’ll do each time we use this format, I will select 6-7 students at random to serve as our discussants.

To prepare for discussion (and the possibility of being selected), each of you should bring to class 3-5 questions or discussion prompts related to the reading. These should be typed up and printed out (on actual paper). I will collect these from everyone, whether or not you were selected to discuss.

After our discussion, we’ll have a short lecture setting the context of the postwar Freedom Struggle.

The bulk of our class will be a lecture on Brown v. Board. We’ll also read and discuss a few brief documents, which I’ll pass out in class.

You’ll also turn in your first Document Analysis assignment. These short analyses of historical primary sources are described in detail on page 5 of the syllabus. For this first go around, you’ll read and analyze the response of one African American––writer Zora Neale Hurston––to the Brown decision. Her views are available to you as DCR 4.

Your Document Analysis should be composed according to the “Writing Guidelines” document, which is posted in the READINGS folder on Sakai (below all the DCRs). You should save your file as a PDF, and name the file “LastName-DA1.pdf” before uploading it to our Sakai Drop Box.


In the News
Florida Says AP African American Studies Program ‘Lacks Educational Value’ (Rolling Stone, January 18, 2023).


Welcome to our first week of class! We’ll take care of some introductory things this week as we also start to build the “story” that is our class.

We’ll meet in our first class and start to get to know each other as we review a bit of the semester ahead.

We’ll have our first “regular” class, starting off with a song and followed by a lecture introducing some major class themes. To help that learning, we’ll also read and discuss (as a whole class) two short readings: 1) an essay by long-time organizer Mike Miller titled “What is an Organizer?” and 2) just the first page of “The Souls of White Folks” (1920), an essay by the legendary intellectual W.E.B. DuBois.

Be good and be well…

WELCOME to Hist 25CH!

Welcome to the course website for the Spring 2023 section of “All Power to the People!”: Social Movements for Justice!

My name is Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr. and I’ll be your instructor for the semester. In the pages above, you’ll find a website version of our course syllabus. You can download our “paper” syllabus, as well as all other course documents, are on our Sakai site (in the “Readings” folder).

Please read the syllabus or explore the pages above to learn more about our class. If you have any questions, bring them to our first meeting or post them in the comments to this post.

Our first class meeting will be Tuesday, January 17 at 9:35AM. We’ll meet in Crookshank Hall, room 10.