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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Quintard Taylor
HSTAA 540
Seattle Campus

African American Urban History: 1700-2000

Examines the growth and evolution of African-American urban communities from the colonial era to the present, with particular emphasis on cities of the West.

Class description

The migration of nearly ten million African Americans from the mostly rural South to the cities of the North and West between 1915 and 1990 is a central feature in black life in the 20th Century United States. This field course will examine the impact of the migration on African America and the larger American Society. We will discuss how this movement transformed hundreds of communities across the nation including especially Seattle, and millions of lives.

The course's goal is twofold: first to introduce participants to the rapidly evolving historiography and methodology on black migration, and second, to determine the manner in which the movement shaped the contemporary world of black people and other urbanites in the United States. Additionally I hope the various histories discussed over the quarter, and our critical scrutiny of those texts, will encourage you to generate fresh perspectives and engage in creative approaches to the understanding the pivotal role of migration in American society.

Student learning goals

Students will have a greater understanding of urban African America and by extension, all of urban America, the home of over 85% of the black people in the United States.

Students will learn to do independent historical research including the ability to assess primary and secondary sources.

Students will learn to assess and critically analyze the arguments of historians, of fellow seminar participants, and of the instructor.

Students will, through a research paper or other writing projects, hone their writing skills as they present empirical data and advance reasoned and persuasive arguments to support their interpretation of historical events.

General method of instruction

We will meet once a week in a two hour class session which will focus on the discussion of the assigned readings. Each discussion will be led by a course participant. Students are particularly encouraged to incorporate the extensive array of supporting documents and materials from the Taylor faculty website, URL: http://faculty.washington.edu/qtaylor/ and BlackPast.org, URL www.blackpast.org.

Recommended preparation

Undergraduate survey courses in African American history, African American history in the West, and American Urban history are helpful but not required. Recommended background readings include Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine and Stanley Harrold, THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ODYSSEY and Quintard Taylor, THE FORGING OF A BLACK COMMUNITY: SEATTLE'S CENTRAL DISTRICT FROM 1870 THROUGH THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA, and Quintard Taylor, IN SEARCH OF THE RACIAL FRONTIER: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE AMERICAN WEST, 1528-1990.

Class assignments and grading

Each seminar participant will write a 10-15 page paper assessing some important figure or episode in African American urban history. Additionally each participant will be expected to complete all of each week's reading assignments and participate fully in the course discussion of those readings. Primary readings include works by Albert Broussard, Kimberley L Phillips, W.E.B. DuBois, Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, Douglas Flamming, Robert O. Self, Tera Hunter, Jim Gregory, Matthew Whitaker, and Scott Kurashige among others.

Grading Percentages: Participation in Weekly Discussions 20% Performance as chair of a session 30% Research Paper 50%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Quintard Taylor
Date: 04/29/2011