This course is a bloc-course which will be taught from Monday 15 April to Tuesday 23 April 2019 by Professor Robert Cook. His course The African American Freedom Struggle examines the history of the ongoing black freedom struggle in the United States since the New Deal era of 1933.
Professor Robert Cook: After spending an action-packed gap year in the American Midwest working in a paint store and riding the Greyhound to San Francisco, Professor Robert Cook managed to gain education at the universities of Warwick (BA) and Oxford (D.Phil). His doctorate was on the early Republican Party in Iowa. He moved to Sussex in 2007 after teaching American history at Sheffield University for seventeen years. Professor Cook is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a proud member of the British American Nineteenth Century Historians group and a disillusioned supporter of Aston Villa FC.
His course The African American Freedom Struggle examines the history of the ongoing black freedom struggle in the United States since the New Deal era of 1933. Although its primary focus is on the civil rights movement of the mid-twentieth century, the course provides an overview of the African American experience in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and assesses the validity of the concept of a ‘long civil rights movement’ grounded in the industrial labour movement of the 1930s and 1940s as well as the racial controversies of the Second World War. One of our main goals is to understand the debates, disagreements, and downright fights that African Americans have had among themselves in the modern era. We will also assess arguments over the relationship of blacks to the U.S. government, over racial and class identities, and over diverse tactics and strategies for the advancement of the race. In addition, we will consider the impact and significance of different forms of leadership and organization as well as the gendered dimensions of the black experience. The lectures will bring the story up to date by assessing the effectiveness of African American involvement in mainstream politics (culminating in the election of the nation’s first black president in 2008) and explain the rise of new forms of black activism in the modern era, culminating in the recent creation of the Black Lives Matter movement.