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Fall 2019 Course C. The African-American Experience

Alumnae Continuing Education
Norris University Center

Course C. The African-American Experience

Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Faculty from various departments

This course meets on Thursday mornings beginning on September 26th.

There will be no class on October 24 and November 28th.

The lectures are as follows:

Sep. 26 The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in Colonial North America

Leslie M. Harris, Professor, History

During the era of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, more people of African descent came to the Americas (North, Central and South America and the Caribbean) than any single group of people. The labor of enslaved Africans undergirded the labor system of the Americas and provided untold wealth to Europeans and European - Americans. African slavery existed in all thirteen British North American Colonies that became the United States, as well as in Spanish Florida and French Louisiana. This lecture will discuss the economic and cultural contributions of Africans to the Americas and Colonial North America.

Oct. 3 The American Revolution and the Founding Fathers: Pro-Slavery, Anti-Slavery or Both?

Leslie M. Harris

The American Revolution was part of a larger revolutionary era in general, and the enslavement of people of African descent in particular, came under questioning as the best system for organizing society. To what degree was the American Revolution an anti-slavery revolution? How did the Founding Fathers understand slavery? What were the contributions of African Americans to the American Revolution? Why did slavery remain in the southern states as it disappeared in the northern states? How did the American Revolution lead to the end of slavery in other parts of the Americas and in Europe?

Oct. 10 Slavery in the Antebellum South: Realities and Myths

Leslie M. Harris

When most Americans think about slavery, they think about the antebellum southern plantation. This lecture will examine the realities of southern slavery. Who owned slaves? Were all slave-owners wealthy? How did African Americans endure slavery, and how and when did they resist slavery? The lecture will also point out some of the myths about slavery and African Americans which emerged before and after the Civil War. Finally, it will explore how those myths continue to haunt our understanding of U.S. history today.

Oct. 17 The Civil War and Reconstruction

Kate Masur, Associate Professor, History

African Americans fought first for freedom and then for equality and citizenship. This lecture will show how African Americans transformed the Civil War and how changes wrought by the war led to a remarkable experiment in biracial democracy.

Oct. 24 NO CLASS

Oct. 31 The Color Line

Kevin Boyle, William Smith Mason Professor of American History

This lecture will trace the rise of Jim Crow across the South, follow the Great Migration it helped to trigger, and show how the color line moved with the migrants, splitting cities like Chicago in two.

Nov. 7 The Battle Line

Kevin Boyle

This lecture takes us into the urban neighborhoods of the 1920s and 1930s, where the northern racial system took its most fierce form. We’ll see how racism fused with the real estate market, how the federal government reinforced the connection, and how the nation is still scarred by the consequences.

Nov. 14 The Supreme Court and the African American Experience: Of Hubris and Redemption

Jerry Goldman, Professor Emeritus, Political Science

This presentation will review some of the Court’s most egregious decisions dealing with race and the long effort to undo the damage of its prior holdings. Through its “self-inflicted wound” in the Dred Scott Case (1857) and its “equal but separate” holding in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Court abetted the tragic plight of African Americans. Redemption would require removing the edifice of racial segregation case-by-case until the legal structure upholding it would collapse following Brown v. Board of Education (1954-1955).

Nov. 21 Economics of Slavery and Racial Integration

Robert Coen, Professor Emeritus, Economics

Defeat of the Confederacy ended the barbarous practice of treating African Americans as property, to be bought and sold like farm animals. Did slavery help or hinder economic growth of the new nation? Was the slave economy thriving or faltering before the Civil War? After the War, what challenges were faced in integrating ex-slaves into the economy? How far has the nation come in providing equal economic opportunity to African Americans? What more can be done to erase economic scars of the nation’s slave history?

Nov. 28 NO CLASS – Thanksgiving

Dec. 5 Two Speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

David Zarefsky, Professor Emeritus, Communication Studies

We remember Dr. King primarily for “I Have a Dream,” delivered at the 1963 March on Washington, and we tend to forget how controversial some of his later speeches were. This lecture will compare “I Have a Dream” and “A Time to Break Silence,” the speech in which he broke with President Johnson over the Vietnam war. We will see how Dr. King deployed the prophetic voice in both speeches, and we will speculate about why one is ranked the #1 American speech of the 20th century while the other aroused deep and bitter controversy.

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Information is subject to change. Full course and policy descriptions are available at

Course Pricing
One nine-week course $190.00

Discounts for Multiple Registrations for an Individual

Individuals who register for multiple courses may receive discounts on each additional course after the first:

To register for two nine-week courses at the special price of $355.00, select the 2-Course Package.

To register for three nine-week courses at the special price of $520.00, select the 3-Course Package.

To register for four nine-week courses at the special price of $685.00, select the 4-Course Package.

Your email confirmation from Norris Box Office verifies your registration but it is not your entry to class. Be sure to bring your class entry card to each class as it must be shown to the proctors at the entry door. In order to guarantee seating for registered students, those without their card will be given a temporary entry card, but ONE time only. After that one time, a replacement card will be provided at a fee of $30.00.

Refund Policy: Before a refund can be issued, your course registration card must be returned and the cancellation fee must be purchased on this website. Send your entry card to Alumnae Continuing Education, P.O. Box 2789, Glenview, IL 60025.

Applicable Fees and Withdrawal Schedule:
If the withdrawal request is received prior to the first class, the refund of the original registration will be initiated only after the registrant purchases a $10.00 cancellation processing fee.

If the withdrawal request is received after the first class, but before the second class, the refund of the the original registration will be initiated only after the registrant purchases both the $10.00 cancellation processing fee and the $30.00 per diem fee, per course dropped.

If the withdrawal request is received after the second class, but before the third class, the refund of the original registration will be initiated only after the registrant purchases the $10.00 cancellation processing fee and $60.00 in per diem fees, per course dropped.

  • No refunds will be given after the second class.
  • Credits are not given for future classes.
  • A transfer at no cost to another class offered during the same quarter is an option provided there is space available.
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Online ticket sales ended on 10/3/2019 at 12:45 PM (CT)