Bayard Rustin Education Bldg., Room 1963
This course is an introduction to the histories of African-Americans for those who talk favorably about “departed” black heroes like Ben Carson but find it difficult to recognize a black president. This course is for people who praise themselves at prayer breakfasts, habitually put a “the” in front of “blacks” and make history by late-night tweeting at “Saturday Night Live” characters. If you know more about the biographies of Monica, Rachel and Ross from the sitcom “Friends” than of Martin (Luther King, Jr.), Harriet (Tubman) and Rosa (Parks), this course is also for you. After taking this course you will be able to have dinner with the cast of “Hamilton” and drop the words Frederick Douglass into casual conversation as if you know who he is.
Please note: Guns are not permitted in college as campus police are sufficiently equipped to deal with grizzly bears.
Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty includes alternative truths, plagiarism, tampering with evidence and hiding tax returns.
Session 1: Field Trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture with U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia)
That “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results” U.S. congressperson, Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), is actually one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time. Please read the graphic novel trilogy “March” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Lewis will take the class on a tour of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Session 2: No, Frederick Douglass is not alive, but he was a great patriot.
Please read “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?” written by the great abolitionist and human rights leader Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) to understand how he advised the party of Abraham Lincoln.
Take home essay due: Did Abraham Lincoln free the slaves?
Session 3: Uplifting Abraham Lincoln during Black History Month is like casting Tom Cruz in The Last Samurai.
If you were Paul Mooney, you would shake your head at VP Mike Pence too. Who cites the accomplishments of white people during Black History Month? Please read “The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter Godwin Woodson, the founder of Black History Month.
Assignment: Devise a non-racist take on the brown paper bag test.
Session 4: Field trip to “the black church.”
(Reminder, do not praise yourself at church service.) For this class we will visit the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for a special sermon delivered by its former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. During the 2008 presidential campaign, media outlets criticized Wright’s sermons as examples of “reverse racism.” But presidential advisor Steve Bannon’s romance with white supremacists shows there is no such thing as reverse racism — just racism. Please read “Black Theology & Black Power” by James H. Cone and “Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk” by Delores S. Williams to understand black liberation theology.
Session 5: What if Harriet Tubman were alive today? (She and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would be on a first-name basis)
You may have only heard about Harriet Tubman when you learned a black woman would replace Andrew Jackson on the new $20 bill, but that lady was woke. She earned the handle of Moses, cause she led hundreds of enslaved Africans from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Philadelphia. Read “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero” by Kate Clifford Larson for the full story.
Session 6: Martin Luther King, Jr., wouldn’t have endorsed you.
Donald Trump tweeted that we should “Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for.” But not only would MLK have demanded a release of Trump’s tax returns, he would have questioned the economic system that gave rise to his presidency. MLK once said, “And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America?’ And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about…a broader distribution of wealth… [and] the capitalistic economy.”
Please read “The radical gospel of Martin Luther King” by Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou.
Session 7: So you think you know Rosa Parks? Meet the women of Black Lives Matter.
Even clueless presidents might remember Rosa Parks’ refusal to sit in the back of the bus as a milestone of the Civil Rights Movement. Alicia Garza, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, will speak on, “How Rosa Parks would Resist the Trump Presidency.”
Assignment: Students will present an original protest activity that honors Rosa Parks and Black Lives Matter that will be graded by the guest lecturers. As an example, the White House press corps orchestrates a “sit-in” that arranges black, brown and Muslim women members in the front rows of the Briefing Room.
Session 8: Math is Not Immune to Racism
Anyone who saw more people at the 2017 presidential inauguration than President Barack Obama’s inaugurations and the Women’s March on Washington has been placed in the remedial math section of this class. (The best, most tremendous seat has already been reserved for our president.) For this session, we will watch “Hidden Figures” and “I am Not Your Negro.”
Grades will be determined by participation, evaluation of assignments, and ability to synthesize what you learned into 140-character tweets sent at 3 a.m.