Fall 2010

Instructor: Dr. Christina Proenza-Coles
Office: 101-H Colson Hall
Hours: M 2-5 W 2-5 and by appointment

A reading and discussion intensive course that explores the ways in which African Americans have experienced and responded to life in the social, political, and economic spheres of American society.

--This site ( will always have the latest assignments and required readings. It can be updated frequently. Add it to your browser and visit it regularly.

-- The readings not on directly on the course website are on E-reserve on the VSU library site.

1) Students should not make or receive phone calls or text messages during class.

2) There will be written assignments, a final paper, and a presentation.  Respectively they comprise 25% of the course grade.  The final 25% is based on class discussion.

3) Students who exhibit cheating in any form with automatically fail the course. Poor attendance (repeated lateness and/or absence) will automatically lower a student's overall course grade. Chronic absence will result in course failure.



CLASSROOM: We are now meeting in Hunter Mack 155W.


WEEK 1: Wed Aug 25: Introduction:


WEEK 2: Weds Sep 1: Black History as World History
--Kelley, Robin. “’But a Local Phase of a World Problem’: Black History’s Global Vision, 1883-1950.” The Journal of American History, 86:3 (Dec. 1999) pp. 1045-1077. WEB
--Proenza-Coles, Christina. “The Rise of Slavery and the Atlantic System.” WEB
--Bennett, Lerone, Jr., Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America, 1619-1962, Penguin, 1984 [1962], pp.3-26. WEB
--Thorton, John, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp.13-42, 72-97. WEB
--Proenza-Coles, C. "Atlantic Islands." Encyclopedia of African American History. Alexander and Rucker, eds. ABC-CLIO. 2008. WEB


WEEK 3: Weds Sep 8: Black History as Western History
--Scarupa, Harriet. “Blacks in the Classical World: Snowden's 50-year Search.” WEB
--Keita, M. “Deconstructing the Classical Age: Africa and the Unity of the Mediterranean World.” WEB
--Septimious Severus, Alessandro de Medici WEB, Queen Charlotte WEB
--Gates, Henry Louis and Maria Wolff, “An Overview of the Sources of on the Life and Work of Juan Latino, the ‘Ethiopian Humanist,” Research in African Literatures 29:4 Winter 1998, pp. 14-51. WEB
--Landers, Jane, “Precedents for an Afro-Caribbean Society in Florida,” Black Society in Spanish Florida, pp. 10-28.


WEEK 4: Weds Sep 15: Black Conquistadores in the Americas
--Africa’s Greatest Explorer, Abubakari. WEB
--Restall, Matthew, “Black Conquistadores: Armed Africans in Early Spanish Americas,” The Americas 57:2 October 2000, pp. 171-205. WEB
--Landers, Jane, “Precedents for an Afro-Caribbean Society in Florida,” Black Society in Spanish Florida, pp. 29-60.
--Proenza-Coles, Christina, “Free People of African Descent in the Americas: Conquistadores, Maroons, Artisans, and Miltary.” WEB
--Black Pirates WEB


WEEK 5: Weds Sep 22: Local Actors and Global History: Petersburg's African American Communities
--Jackson, Luther P. "Free Negroes of Petersburg, Virginia," Journal of Negro History 12:3 July 1927. WEB
--Petersburg and the Atlantic World Virtual Center of Study (see especially the links on the "HISTORY" and "TIMELINE" pages) WEB
--Prepare research proposal (typed, due in class)


WEEK 6: Weds Sep 29: Petersburg and the Atlantic World Research
--Prepare typed answers to ID questions (due in class Weds Oct 6) WEB
--Prepare bibliography (due via email Fri Oct 1)


WEEK 7: Weds Oct 6: Afro-Virginians
--Breen, T.H. and Stephen Innes. Myne Owne Ground. Oxford University Press, 1980. (On reserve in library)
--Owens, Mitchell. “Surprises in the Family Tree,” New York Times, 1/8/2004. WEB
-- Billings, Warren. “The Case of Fernando and Elizabeth Key” WMQ 30:467 (1973). WEB


WEEK 8: Weds Oct 13: Middle Passages
--Rediker, Marcus. The Slave Ship: A Human History. Viking. 2007. Chaps 1 & 9. WEB
--Olaudah Equiano. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. FILM
--Carretta, Vincent. “’Property of Author’: Olaudah Equiano’s Place in the History of the Book.” Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic, Carretta and Gould eds. University Pres of Kentucky, 2001. pp. 130-150. WEB


WEEK 9: Weds Oct 20: 18th Century Texts
--Landers, Jane. “African American Women and Their Pursuit of Rights Through 18th Century Texts.” Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts. University of Virginia Press. 1997. pp. 56-76. WEB
--Carretta, Vincent and Philip Gould, eds. Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic, “Introduction,” pp. 1-13. WEB
--Carretta, Vincent, ed. Unchained Voices: Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the 18th Century, “Introduction,” pp. 1-17. WEB


WEEK 10: Weds Oct 27: American Revolutionaries
--Egerton, Douglas. “Harry Washington's Atlantic Crossings: The Migrations of Black Loyalists.” Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. Oxford University Press, 2008. pp. 194-221. WEB
--Blanchard, Peter. "The Language of Liberation: Slave Voices in the Wars of Independence." Hispanic American Historical Review, 82:3, August 2002, pp. 499-523. WEB
--Landers, Jane. "African Choies in the Revolutionary South." Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions. Harvard University Press, 2010. pp. 1-54. WEB (Introduction) WEB (Chapter 1) WEB (Notes to Chapter 1)


WEEK 11: Weds Nov 3: Civil War/Slave Revolt
--Du Bois, WEB. Black Reconstruction. xii-83, 580-635, 711-729 WEB
--Foner, Eric. A Short History of Reconstruction. pp.x-15. WEB
--Ira Berlin, et. al. Slaves No More. pp. 3-76. WEB
--Proenza-Coles, Christina. “African Americans in the Military.” The Civil War and Reconstruction Era. Brain Johnson and Edward Blums, eds. Bruccoli Clark Layman/Manly. Forthcoming.  WEB Timeline and Documents WEB
--Emancipation Chronology, Sample Documents, Thirteenth Amendment WEB


WEEK 12: Weds Nov 10: African American Women and Post-Emancipation Politics
--Brown, Elsa Barkley. “To Catch a Vision of Freedom,” Unequal Sisters. pp.124-141. Handout.
--Hunter, Tera. To ‘Joy My Freedom. pp. x-44, 98-129. WEB WEB
--Review of Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins WEB
--Book Review of Race and Reunion by David Blight WEB


WEEK 13: Weds Nov 17: Presentations on Research Findings & Papers Due (5-7 pages)
--Guide to Reading and Writing in History WEB


WEEK 14: Weds Nov 24: Thanksgiving Break


WEEK 15: Weds Dec 1: From the American Revoltion to Civil War to Civil Rights: The Long Freedom Movement
--Prepare typed answers to ID questions (due in class Weds Dec 1) WEB
--Baldwin, James.  “Letter to My Nephew.” The Fire Next Time. WEB
--Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. FILM