Final Exam Times: Friday, May 5 @ 7:00-10:00pm 

Course Format – Spring 2017
Tuesdays, 7pm – 9:30pm– Full Frame Theater
320 Blackwell Street #101, Durham, NC 27701  (please note this is the correct location and time)

Course Format

“The South in Black and White” is a lecture and discussion course open to students at Duke, Durham Tech, NCCU, UNC, and to the larger community. This is a class on public and civic life in the past, conducted as an expression of public and civic life in the present, and ultimately exploring the future of our past. The unusual breadth of the course makes a quilt the most sensible metaphor for our approach to the subject matter; something useful and beautiful, patched together from many fabrics by a working community-in-progress. This course provides a kind of front porch on Southern history, where we will join those whom Zora Neale Hurston calls “the big picture talkers” and hear their stories. We meet Tuesday evenings from 7:00PM to 9:30PM at American Tobacco Campus Theater in downtown Durham. (http://www.americantobaccohistoricdistrict.com) 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.


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

  • David Ceceslski, The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War
  • Danielle McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance: a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
  • Charles Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle
  • Timothy Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Assignments, Expectations and Grading

Students will be expected to attend all class meetings. This is vital for a class that only meets 15 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 also review each student’s compiled responses at semester’s end for your participation grade. Deep understanding of the reading and engagement with the discussion questions that Michael Williams will post each week are the heart of the matter.

The participation grade accounts for 20% of the final grade. A take-home or in-class essay that weaves together themes from all of the readings will be due on March 29 (if it is a take-home, it will be distributed on March 22); either of these essays will account for 20% of the final grade. A short research and analysis assignment (see below) due on April 5 will account for 20%. The final exam will require both objective mastery of the factual material 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 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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