Out of the Shadows: Women of Color in the Era of Civil Rights

Winter 2016 quarter

Taught by

English literature, theater studies
Native American studies, history, women's studies

The Civil Rights era is typically described as a set of movements inching towards justice through the hard work of individual organizers—predominantly African-American males. When an entire historical moment is narrated in this way, women of color—their actions, their contributions, and their leadership—are implicitly relegated to the shadows. Students who are taught history in this way learn not to question what is “unseen,” which in turn reinforces the patriarchal status quo. This program seeks to resist that status quo by shining light on the leadership and work of many erased women of color across the decades of the 1950s-1970s.

In addition to studying the crucial roles women of color played in the era of Civil Rights, we will learn about the critiques women of color provided of both white feminism and the male-dominated Black Power movement. In other words, we will highlight the role of women-of-color activists, writers, singers, and leaders in the struggle to forge a truly intersectional analysis of American systems of oppression. Because our 10-week study will necessarily be incomplete, students will be invited to do biographical or creative projects on figures and topics not covered in our syllabus.

Significant attention will be paid to helping students develop their reading and critical thinking skills, and we will also supplement our textual analysis with films and music from the period.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

American studies, U.S. history, U.S. literature, cultural studies, political science, and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: First winter class meeting: Monday, January 4 at 9am (Sem II D4107)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$15 for museum tickets.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen ONLY ; 100% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 36


Course Reference Number

Fr (16 credits): 20108

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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