Section menuClose menu Columbia College


Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

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:

Most current editions of the following:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a primary documents collection. Additional primary and secondary sources and appropriate scholarly monographs 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)
A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America
By Hine, Darlene Clark and Thompson, Kathleen (Broadway Books)
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)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the main currents in African American history.
  • To examine 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.
  • To explore the contributions African Americans have made to the development of the United States from its colonial beginnings to the present day.
  • To understand the impact of race on the development of American society, politics, and economics.
  • To understand race as a system of power relations that manifests itself in many realms of American history.
Measurable Learning
  • Describe the significant people, places and events of African American history.
  • Explore the place of race in American history.
  • Explain the impact of the international slave trade and the system of slavery in America on African and African American cultural traditions.
  • Analyze the roles that African Americans played in the establishment of the United States.
  • Study African American responses to slavery.
  • Understand the limits placed on African American freedom following the civil War and challenges to the Jim Crow system of segregation that emerged in the nineteenth century.
  • Evaluate the changing experiences of African Americans in the Unites States in the wake of twentieth century wars and cultural movements. Analyze the emergence, tactics, successes and failures of the twentieth century civil rights movement.
  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of African Americans.
Topical Outline:
  • 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 I
  • The 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: February 17, 2010
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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. 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.

Office of Academic Affairs