Malcolm X

From W.E.B. Du Bois to Malcolm X: Black Politics in the 20th Century

Instructor: Holly McGee
Community Matters
2110 Saint Michael Street
Cincinnati, OH 45204

Much of modern African-American history has been reduced to polite conversations about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Lacking depth, these conversations prevent us from seeing the wide range of activist responses that have defined black politics in America for more than a century. What factors shaped the birth, growth, and divergence of black political ideologies in America? How might knowledge of past debates continue to shape the way we think today about issues such as the place of Confederate statues in the public square, the Black Lives Matter movement, and debates over mass incarceration?

In this course, students will explore these questions and more by delving into the work of two of the most influential African-American thinkers, W. E. B. Du Bois and Malcom X. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folks defined the nature of black politics at the dawn of the twentieth century and forever altered the perception of blacks in America. Though separated from DuBois by class, education, and time, Malcolm X enunciated in his Autobiography many of the same goals and overriding interests: full civil rights and increased political representation (and protection under the law) for black Americans, black pride, and pan-Africanism. We will ask: what types of tactics, strategies, and arguments did each conceive of as appropriate for reaching their political goals? In what way was each received by the majority white American culture, and how do we account for these differences? And finally, what insights do The Souls of Black Folks and The Autobiography of Malcolm X offer into some of the most urgent issues of our own time?

Course Schedule

Wednesday, 6:00-9:00pm
October 18 — November 15, 2017
4 sessions over 5 weeks
Class will not be held on Wednesday, November 8th.


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