Civil Rights, Decolonization

Martin Luther King Jr., “MLK_Jr._”Letter_from_a_Birmingham_Jail”:

In his famous, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” a response to white clergy men that asked King to slow down and described him, according to Juan Williams, as a “troublemaker,” King also speaks to the ongoing decolonization movements across the African continent, Asia, and Latin America:

“Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice” (7).

Louis Austin and the Carolina Times

Louis Austin and the Carolina Times: A Life in the Long Black Freedom Struggle  by Jerry Gershenhorn

Louis Austin (1898–1971) came of age at the nadir of the Jim Crow era and became a transformative leader of the long black freedom struggle in North Carolina. From 1927 to 1971, he published and edited the Carolina Times, the preeminent black newspaper in the state. He used the power of the press to voice the anger of black Carolinians, and to turn that anger into action in a forty-year crusade for freedom.

In this biography, Jerry Gershenhorn chronicles Austin’s career as a journalist and activist, highlighting his work during the Great Depression, World War II, and the postwar civil rights movement. Austin helped pioneer radical tactics during the Depression, including antisegregation lawsuits, boycotts of segregated movie theaters and white-owned stores that refused to hire black workers, and African American voting rights campaigns based on political participation in the Democratic Party. In examining Austin’s life, Gershenhorn narrates the story of the long black freedom struggle in North Carolina from a new vantage point, shedding new light on the vitality of black protest and the black press in the twentieth century.

Welcome Civil Rights Movement


This course examines the Black Freedom Movement (BFM), from the new deal to the mid-1970s. The goals of this course are to use Civil Rights writings and scholarship as a vehicle for students to think about the writing process, learn and use different historical approaches, and produce their own polished piece of writing. The final paper will reflect their historical understanding of the BFM showcasing their expertise in historical methods and their development in proposing and supporting their thesis.

Syllabus_His 201_Civil Rights Movement spring 2018