The Civil Rights Movement in 3 Days @ Smith College

dsc08246.JPGThe Hampshire Educational Collaborative invited the Du Bois Department to present to teachers from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in its Emerging America: Teaching American History (TAH) Program “From Agrarian Colonies to World Leader:  How American Institutions Endure through Change.” We offered colloquium presentations on the Civil Rights Movement, 1940-1970, at Smith College’s Seelye Hall in Northampton, MA. We addressed the teachers over three days with lecture and discussion in morning sessions with follow-up sessions in the afternoon on pedagogy and curriculum design. I coordinated the week-long colloquium and kicked off discussion on the first day focused on the state of the field regarding the legal history of the Civil Rights Movement or CRM, with a special focus on the 19th century background that is essential to properly framing the intense movement period of 1940 to 1970.emtlecturing.jpgOn the next day Ekwueme Mike Thelwell discussed his experience with teaching the CRM at UMass Amherst over the past fifteen years after the eminent James Baldwin launched the course for the De Bois Department. He also answered questions regarding Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (2003). The memoir, which Thelwell helped Kwame Ture to write and brought to completion after he died, was assigned reading for the teachers participation in the colloquium and part of an extensive bibliography, chronology, and other materials provided to the teachers. It was also part of a focus that day on the CRM as lived history, that is in the way that it shaped and was shaped by people’s actual lives.On the final day of the colloquium Bill Strickland followed my institutional and policy oriented  discussion of the CRM with an analysis of the differences and the common ground of the CRM as lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Power Movement as inspired by Malik Shabazz or Malcolm X.Feedback from teachers about the colloquium was very positive. I look forward to doing more public service and consulting work along these lines. 

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