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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 374
Course Title: African American History
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This course explores the major themes in African American history, from its roots in fifteenth-century West Africa to contemporary U.S. society. Course materials cover the major political, economic, social and cultural factors that have shaped the African and African American experience in the United States. Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered odd Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a primary documents collection.  Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.

The African American Experience
By Trotter, Joe William Jr. (Houghton Mifflin)
From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans
By Franklin, John Hope and Higginbotham, Evelyn (McGraw Hill)
Creating Black Americans: African American History and its Meanings, 1619 to the Present
By Painter, Nell Irvin (Oxford)
Sources of the African American Past: Primary Sources in American History
By Finkenbine (Pearson)
From Timbuktu to Katrina: Readings in African American History Volume 1 & Volume 2
By Taylor, Quintard Jr. (Thomson Wadsworth)
The Age of Jim Crow
By Dailey, Jane (Norton)
Major Problems in African-American History, Volume 1: From Slavery to Freedom, 1619-1877
By Holt, Thomas C. and Brown, Elsa Barkley (Houghton Mifflin)
Major Problems in African-American History, Volume 2: From freedom to
By Holt, Thomas C. and Brown, Elsa Barkley (Houghton Mifflin)
Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South
By White, Deborah Gray (Norton)
Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
By Sugrue, Thomas J. (Random House)
Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
By Williams, Juan (Penguin)
Freedom On My Mind: A History of African Americans, with Documents
By Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. (Bedford/St. Martins)
African Americans, A Concise History
By Darlene Clark Hine, (Prentice Hall)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the development of a unique African American culture shaped by the experiences of slavery and the struggle for civil rights in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  2. Analyze the impact of race on the development of American society, politics, and economics.
  3. Evaluate the contributions African Americans have made to the development of the United States from its colonial beginnings to the present day.
  4. Analyze primary documents within a historical framework.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers).  The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words.

The major topics include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • West African peoples and cultures
  • Origins of the international slave trade
  • Slavery in colonial North America
  • African Americans and the American Revolution
  • Slavery in the new nation
  • Plantation slavery
  • Development of a unique African American culture
  • Free blacks in antebellum America
  • The anti-slavery and abolition movements
  • African Americans and the Civil War
  • The promise and failure of Reconstruction
  • African American society in the post-slavery United States
  • Jim Crow segregation and white supremacy
  • Abandoning the South
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • African Americans in the Great Depression and the New Deal
  • African Americans in World War II
  • The emergence, tactics, successes and failures of the twentieth-century civil rights movement
  • Impact of civil rights legislation in recent American history

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Tonia Compton Date: September 10, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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