SOCS 636
The Black Sixties: From Civil Rights to Black Power

Ashraf Rushdy

Course Description

In this course, we will explore the development of African American political activism and political theory from 1960 to 1972, with particular focus on student movements in these years.  We will familiarize ourselves with the history of political activism and agitation for civil rights and social equality during the sixties by tracing the formation of specific organizations, especially the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party (BPP), and tracing the changes in their political agendas.  Overall, we will be trying to get a sense of the contours of the sixties by analyzing historical, political, and autobiographical texts from this period of American and African American history.

Required Texts

Brown, Elaine.  A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story.  Doubleday, 1994.
Carson, Clayborne.  In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s.  Harvard UP, 1995. 
Carson, Clayborne, et. al., Eds.  The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader.  Penguin, 1991.
Clarke, John Henrik, Ed..  Malcolm X: The Man and His Times.  Africa World Press, 1990.
Foner, Philip, Ed.  The Black Panthers Speak.  Da Capo Press, 1995. 
Hilliard, David.  This Side of Glory: The Autobiography of David Hilliard and the Story of the Black Panther Party.  Lawrence Hill Books, 2001.
Ture, Kwame and Charles Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation.  Vintage, 1992.
Van Deburg, William.  New Day in Babylon: The Black Power Movement and American Culture, 1965-1975.  University of Chicago Press, 1992. 

** N.B. There will also be a packet of xeroxed material available from PIP Printing.

Grade Distribution

Your final grade will be based on several factors: a consideration of the overall achievement and degree of improvement over the course of the marked essays, attendance, and participation. 

I will mark and grade your papers, using the standard A-F grading mode. 

Written Assignments

You will be required to write four papers for this course: one short, ungraded essay for my information; two short, graded essays; and one long essay. 


** Paper # 1 - 4 typed, double-spaced pages (max. 1000 words)
                        -due February 21 @ 6:00 p.m. in class
Paper # 2 - 4 typed, double-spaced pages (max. 1000 words)
                        -due April 4 @ 6:00 p.m. in class
Paper # 4 - 8 typed, double-spaced pages (max. 2000 words)
                        -due May 2@ 6:00 p.m. in class 

Course Schedule
(* An asterisk indicates that reading is in course packet)
January 24

Introduction: Civil Rights Movement I, 1945-1965 (38)                                               
* Standley, "The Role of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement," 183-202                                               
* Mueller, "Ella Baker and the Origins of ‘Participatory Democracy,’" 51-70

January 31

Civil Rights Movement II, 1945-1965 (227) 
Carson, et al, Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 1-227

February 7

SNCC I: From Integration to Politics, 1960-1965 (238)                                               
Carson, In Struggle, 1-129                                               
Ture and Hamilton, Black Power, 86-185
Carson, et al, Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 269-78

February 14

SNCC II: From Politics to Black Power, 1965-1968 (289)                                               
Carson, In Struggle, 133-303                                               
Ture and Hamilton, Black Power, xv-84, 187-218

February 21

Black Power I: Intellectual and Ideological Backgrounds (321)                                               
Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon, 1-62                                               
* Malcolm X, "Message to Grassroots," 3-17                                               
* Malcolm X, "The Ballot or the Bullet," 23-44                                               
* Malcolm X "An Interview by A.B. Spellman," 1-13|
* Malcolm X, "The Black Revolution," 45-57                                                
Clarke, Malcolm X: The Man and His Times, xi-41, 235-67, 282-351                                               
* Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 35-41                                               
* Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, 347-81
* Scott and Brockriede, The Rhetoric of Black Power, 132-45

February 28

Black Power II: Definition and Debate (238)         
*SNCC, "The Basis of Black Power," 271-75
* Carmichael, "Toward Black Liberation," 639-51                                                      
* Lester, "The Angry Children of Malcolm X," 469-84 
* Chicago Office of SNCC, "We Must Fill Ourselves with Hate for All Things White," 484-90
* Rustin, "‘Black Power’ and Coalition Politics," 35-40                                               
* Danzig, "In Defense of ‘Black Power,’" 41-46                                               
* Carmichael, "A Declaration of War," 275-82                                               
* Hamilton, "An Advocate of Black Power Defines It," 154-68                                               
* Clark, "Black Power is a Sour Grapes Phenomenon," 610-21                                               
* Rustin, "Some Black Youth Today . . ." 621-29                                               
* King, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, 23-66                                               
* Harding, "The Religion of Black Power," 3-37
* Gayle, The Black Situation, 64-87
* Duberman, "Black Power in America," 34-48                                               
* "Black Power: A Discussion," 195-232

March 7

Black Power III: Identity and Culture (215)                                               
* Rodgers, "Uh Nat’chal Thang -- The Whole Truth -- Us," 4-14                                               
Carson, et al, Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 279-87                                               
* Cross, "The Negro-to-Black Conversion Experience," 13-27                                               
* Killens, "The Black Culture Generation Gap," 22-33                                               
* Clarke, "The Meaning of Black History," 27-36                                               
* Bennett, "The Challenge of Blackness," 20-26                                               
Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon, 64-82, 112-52, 170-247, 292-308

April 4

Black Panther Party I: Program and People (269)                                               
Van Deburg, New Day in Babylon, 152-70                                               
Foner, The Black Panthers Speak, ix-165                                               
Carson, et al, Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 504-17                                               
* "Panther Sisters on Women's Liberation," 258-68                                               
* Rucker and Abron, "‘Comrade Sisters’: Two Women of the                                                            
Black Panther Party," 139-67

April 11

Black Panther Party II: Politics and Persecution (223)                                               
Foner, The Black Panthers Speak,167-281
* “Chronology of the Black Panther Party,” 221-42
* “From the FBI Panther Files,” pp. 243-71
Carson, et al, Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, 517-38
* Churchill, “’To Disrupt, Discredit, and Destroy,’” 78-117

April 18

Black Panther Party III: Self-Defense to Community Programs (450)
Hilliard, This Side of Glory

April 25

Black Panther Party IV: Community Programs to Electoral Politics (400)
Brown, A Taste of Power

May 2 Conclusion