Office Hours: 3:30-5:00 MW
This seminar will examine the growth and evolution of the African American urban west in the 20th Century. The seminar's goal is twofold: first, to introduce you to the historiography and methodology of black western urban history; and second, to determine the manner in which that experience shaped the contemporary world of African American and other westerners.
In addition we hope the various histories discussed over the quarter, and our critical scrutiny of the texts will encourage you to engage in fresh perspectives and creative approaches to the reconstruction of African American western urban history. Although our knowledge of that history has risen dramatically in the past three decades, we still know woefully little about black urbanization process in this region and we have yet to learn much about the impact of gender and class on the shaping of contemporary black urban communities. We should use this seminar, and particularly the papers that will come from it, as the opportunity to expand our knowledge of those and other specific areas of the western urban past.
Selecting important and yet available books and articles for a seminar is always a daunting task. I have tried, within the limits of our institutional and personal resources, to include much of the methodologically and theoretically critical works now extant in African American western urban history. Although some of the book chapters and article copies are on reserve in Suzzallo Library, please copy the assignments directly from the books or journals in the general collection to reduce the demands for reserve materials. Given previous rushes at the last minute to obtain articles, copy the materials long before they are scheduled for class discussion. Please consider your fellow students; do not check out books assigned for the seminar. Unless otherwise indicated, each book or article that appears on the weekly reading schedule should be read in its entirety.
Each seminar participant will write a 10-page paper assessing some important figure or episode in African American western urban history. Your paper should critically analyze the literature available, specifically delineating its strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, drawing on your primary and secondary sources, develop your own interpretation of the issues and events addressed in your topic. Finally, advance specific suggestions for future research.
You should observe the following deadlines:
Third Seminar Meeting: A Preliminary title and one-page prospectus of your paper.
Fifth Seminar Meeting: A four page selected annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources to be used in your paper.
Seventh Seminar Meeting: Conference with each student in my office sometime during this week to determine progress on seminar paper.
Wednesday of Final Exam Week (noon): Paper is due in my office.
PARTICIPATION IN SEMINAR:
Each seminar participant will be expected to chair at least one seminar meeting. One's responsibilities as chair include leading the discussion of the week's readings. The student chairing the seminar will be expected to have completed all of the assigned readings, as I expect all of the other participants as well, but she or he, if necessary, should review related readings beyond the seminar assignment.
Your seminar grade will be based upon three components: the quality of your participation in weekly discussions (20%), your performance as chair of your particular session (30%), and the quality of your research paper, (50%)
NEW BOOKS FOR CONSIDERATION:
Robert O. Self, American
Andrew Wiese, Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century (
Required Books (Purchase):
Lawrence B. de Graaf, Kelvin Mulroy Quintard Taylor, eds., Seeking El Dorado: African Americans in California (
Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The
Shirley Ann Moore, To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California, 1910-1963 (
Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community:
Required Books (on library reserve):
Scott Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land: The
Robert Gooding-Williams, ed., Reading Rodney King, Reading Urban Uprising (New York: Routledge, 1993)
Kenneth W. Goings and Raymond A. Mohl, eds., The New African American Urban History (Thousand Oaks, Ca.: Sage Publications, 1996)
Char Miller and Heywood T. Sanders, eds., Urban
Quintard Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528-1990 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1998)
Emory J. Tolbert, The UNIA and Black
On Reserve indicates that an individual article is available through the reserve room. If the reading is from a scholarly journal such as Arizona and the West, please go th the library and copy the article directly from its source. Be sure to return the journal to its proper location so that it will be available to your classmates. At the end of this syllabus you will find a list of books, dissertations and theses under the heading: Supplemental Reading List: Black Western Urban History
Week I: INTRODUCTION: DISCUSSION AND DETERMINATION OF THE WEEKLY SEMINAR ASSIGNMENTS
Week II: AN URBAN BACKGROUND
Joe W. Trotter, "African Americans in the City: The Industrial Era, 1900-1950," in Goings and Mohl, The New African American Urban History, pp. 299-319 (on reserve)
Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, Chapter 7 (on reserve)
Cary D. Wintz, “The Emergence of a Black Neighborhood:
Week III: THE BLACK URBAN WEST: 1900-1920
Scott Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land, Chapters 1-3 (on reserve)
Emory J. Tolbert, The UNIA and Black Los Angeles, Chapters 2 (Los Angeles: The Black Community to 1930) and 3 (The UNIA in Los Angeles, 1920-1923) (on reserve)
Albert Broussard, “Organizing the Black Community in the
Week IV: PROSPERITY AND DEPRESSION: 1921-1940
David W Stowe, “Jazz in the West: Cultural Frontier and Region During the Swing Era,” Western Historical Quarterly 23:1 (February 1992):53-73.
Randy Sparks, “Heavenly Houston or Hellish Houston: Black Unemployment and Relief Efforts, 1929-1936,” Southern Studies 25 (Winter 1986):353-366.
Week V: WORLD WAR II AND THE BLACK WEST: 1941-1945
Kevin Allen Leonard, "'In the Interest of All Races': African Americans and Interracial Cooperation in
Week VI: THE POST-WAR BLACK WEST: 1946-1960
Stuart McElderry, "Building a West Coast Ghetto: African American Housing in
Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, "Deindustrializaton, Urban Poverty and African American Community Mobilization in
Week VII: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE WEST: 1961-1965
Carl R. Graves, “The Right to be Served:
Robert A. Goldberg, “Racial Change on the Southern Periphery: The Case of San Antonio, Texas, 1960-1965,” Journal of Southern History 49:3 (August 1983):349-374
Mary Melcher, “Blacks and Whites Together: Interracial Leadership in the
Week VIII: BLACK POWER IN THE URBAN WEST
Gerald Horne, Fire This Time, Chapters 1-2, 10-11, Epilogue
Week IX: AFFLUENCE AND POVERTY: THE BLACK URBAN WEST, 1975-2000
Henry Louis Gates, "Two Nations...Both Black," in Gooding-Williams, Reading Rodney King, pp. 249-254
Lawrence B. de Graaf, "African American Suburbanization in California, 1960-1990," in de Graaf, Mulroy and Taylor, Seeking El Dorado, pp. 405-449
Raphael J. Sonenshein, “Coalition Building in Los Angeles, The Bradley Years and Beyond,” in de Graaf, Mulroy and Taylor, Seeking El Dorado, pp. 450-473
Sumi K. Cho, "Korean Americans vs. African Americans: Conflict and Construction," in Gooding-Williams, Reading Rodney King, pp. 196-211
Week X: No Assignment. Prepare Research Papers