American Civil Rights Movement from Booker T. Washington to Barack Obama (Special Subject) - HY40038

Quick Facts

  • Level 4
  • 60 Credits
  • Year Long
  • 12 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 75% Examination 25%
  • SPECIAL STUDY YEAR-LONG. American Studies module choice.

Module Details

For African Americans in 1890 it was clear that relations between black and white were steadily worsening. The decade was marked by racial segregation, race riots, disfranchisement, and horrific lynchings. In spite of great violence and intimidation many were determined to challenge their treatment. Over the following decades African Americans battled to force America to live up to its proclaimed values of democracy and freedom for all.

This year-long Special Study module offers students the opportunity to study African Americans' struggle to secure freedom from racial oppression through the use of a wide variety of primary source material. Starting with the early efforts of Booker T. Washington in the 1890s, it follows the evolution of the American civil rights movement through to the mass protests of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Racial violence and African American response
  • The Lynching of Emmett Till
  • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Martin Luther King
  • The Media and Non-Violent Direct Action
  • The Black Panther Party


Dr Zoe Colley


This module is assessed as follows:

  • Two presentations (30% in total)
  • Research Essay 5,000 words (30%)
  • Essay 2,500 words (15%)
  • Examination (25%)


Introductory Reading

  • Robert Cook., Sweet Land of Liberty? The African American Struggle for Civil Rights in the Twentieth Century.  (Longman, 1997)
  • Adam Fairclough., Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000.  (Penguin, 2002)
  • John White., Black Leadership in America: From Booker T. Washington to Jesse Jackson.  (London, 1990)

Access the online reading list system