Final Exam Times: Wednesday December 11th, 2019 @ 7pm-10pm in the Full Frame Theater (please arrive 15-30 minutes early as the exam will start promptly at 7pm).

Course Format – Fall 2019
Tuesdays, 7pm – 9:30pm– Full Frame Theater
320 Blackwell Street #101, Durham, NC 27701  (please note this is the correct location and time)

About This Course

“The South in Black and White” is a lecture and discussion course open to students at Durham Tech, NCCU, UNC, Duke, and to the larger community.  This is a class on public and civic life in the past; we will conduct it as an expression of public and civic life in the present. It will engage the question of whether our rich and troubled past can help us move toward a future more just, loving and fruitful.

This course focuses on the relationship of African American and Euro-American or “white” Southerners from the late antebellum period through Emancipation, Reconstruction, and the twentieth century, especially the civil rights and Black Power era.  The South has always been and is increasingly now a multicolored and multicultural South.  A course on just “The South” would include native Southerners and immigrants of a range of persuasions, especially Latinex folks; this course, however, deals with the incredible breadth of this subject by focusing on the relationships of black and white Southerners.  We do not regard this as the whole story at all, but instead one central thread and theme in Southern history, culture and politics and a legitimate subject of study, though far from the only one.  We have tried to include a wide range of people—we would do more with the fascinating and important lives of Southern Jews, for example–but our canvas is vast and our time is limited.  If you want to explore subjects that we do not cover as much as you would like, ask Professor Tyson for some readings.

The unusual breadth of the course makes a patchwork quilt our best metaphor; we seek to make something useful, beautiful, and enduring.  A quilt is a legacy patched together from many fabrics brought together by and for our community-in-progress. We all bring our own patches, plucked from the odds and ends of our own particular necessities, cultures and generations. This stitching-together explores, imagines and depicts our separate ways, our common history, and our unfolding future.  Our learning community and our democratic conversation will furnish us with a kind of front porch on Southern history, where we can join those whom Zora Neale Hurston calls “the big picture talkers,” hear their stories, tell our own, and imagine still others.  We meet Tuesday evenings from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM in the Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus (ATC) across the street from Durham Bulls Stadium. Look for the tall brick chimney with the “Lucky Strikes” logo; our classroom is at the base of it. There will be music, poetry, history, documents, stories, films and opportunities for discussion.  We will explore a history as rich and complicated, painful and delightful as the South itself.

Directions and parking info: http://www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com


Occasional articles, the syllabus and helpful information will be available on the course website. The required texts can be purchased

  • Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Timothy B. Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Timothy Tyson, The Blood of Emmett Till

Assignments, Expectations and Grading

Students will be expected to attend all class meetings.  This is vital for a class that only meets 13 times.  Please do not forget to sign in so that you can get credit; you are responsible for signing yourself in each week. Participation grades include attendance and weekly written responses.  We read these week by week but do not formally grade them; we review each student’s compiled responses at semester’s end for your participation grade.  Deep engagement with the readings and the discussion questions that Michael will post each week are the heart of the matter.

The participation grade accounts for 20 per cent of the final grade.  A midterm take-home essay that weaves together themes from all of the readings will be distributed on March 7 and due on March 10; these essays will account for 30 per cent of the final grade.  A short research and analysis assignment (see below) due on April 4 will account for 10 per cent.   The final exam on Friday, May 5, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM will require both objective mastery of the factual material, especially the reading, and an in-class essay, and will account for the remaining 40 per cent of the final grade.


Every week we will open our time together with music.  Professor Williams will both perform songs and also teach us songs.  By running this music through our bodies, we immerse ourselves in Southern culture, much the same as we do by reading history or analyzing poetry.  Please focus when the music begins.  Please note: These songs are as much a text for the course as any of the readings and the exams will reflect that fact.

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