Out of the Shadows: Women of Color in the Era of Civil Rights
Winter 2016 quarter
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.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day