Monday, March 3, 2008

A Righteous, Spiritual, and Religious Struggle: The Civil Rights Movement (Interim Term 2008)

Today's class offered an overview of the Civil Rights Movement (CRM), and focused specifically on the religious dimensions of the struggle.

Here's a link to the documentary, a link to Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, some info about Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth (and here and here), and more about King's nonviolence (here also). Also, read about Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Here's a link to King's final speech in Memphis, as well as to his Vietnam War speech.


We will devote part of tomorrow's class to the role of W.E.B. Du Bois in the CRM.

Click here for a short biographical sketch of Du Bois, a photo-text exhibit on Du Bois's life, and a brief movie clip that addresses Du Bois in the early 20th century. Here's another look at Du Bois's life.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherts contains the largest collection of Du Bois's papers, and hosts an on-line repository with tons of pictures and a large number of documents. In fact, the Afro-American studies department at UMass-Amherst takes it name from Du Bois. Here's another collection of things Du Bois (click on the animated map--a cool feature of the site), and a short summary of his early life in Great Barrington.

Regarding primary sources, here's the W.E.B. Du Bois Virtual University, Professor Robert Williams's fabulous repository of Du Bois resources, the resources page at the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst, Dr. Steven Hale's Du Bois on-line selections, resources from the Documenting the American South project, the Perspectives in American Literature (PAL) page, the reading room at Harvard's Du Bois Institute, documents from the FBI files of Du Bois (though redacted), Du Bois's New York Times featured author page (subscription required), the e-project at the University of Virginia Library (scroll down for Du Bois), and in other various places Paul Harvey points out.
Here are important reflections on religion, race, and Du Bois's creative writing.
In an interesting historical moment, Du Bois died the day before MLK's famous 1963 "I Have a Dream Speech."
This provides the occasion for an interesting question for you to ponder: from what you've learned about the life of Du Bois (primarily from the biographical links above), and what you know about the CRM and its history in general, in your opinion what role did Du Bois play in the CRM and in what ways did his life and influence provide a foundation for the CRM? Why or why not?
Post your answer in the comments section. We'll continue the discussion in class tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

On the first quiz my top three candidates were Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Duncan Hunter. The second quiz my top three candidates were Mitt Romney, Barack Abama, and John McCain.
-Rebecca T.

Anonymous said...

Umm...ok then.

DuBois took a very firm stand against social racism. He proved that the argument of white superiority was completely untrue by being the first African American to earn a Ph.D. He produced thousands of works on the subject, dedicating his life to the cause and earning him the respect of one Martin Luther King, Jr. He was indeed and incredible man.

Ryan E

Anonymous said...

DuBois was an advocate of a true hoi polloi. Born at an extremely important time during American history after the Civil War, he was able to influence the "beginnings" of the CRM in a very important way. Although not a radical such as Garvey, Dubois made his mark for the African American race through his publication of The Crisis and his founding of the NAACP. This man played an irreplaceable part in this struggle for blacks. Even a man born of a prosperous, free black American family could affect the CRM and the future of blacks along with all minority groups in a large way (also helped with the advancement of all minorities after WWII).

Caleb H.