HI6004 - The African American Freedom Struggle Since 1945

What will I learn on this module?

In this seminar-based module you will study the roots, trajectory, and legacies of the African American Freedom Struggle since 1945. Although the primary focus will be on the movement for racial justice in the US South between roughly 1954 and 1968, that history will be placed in longer chronological and broader national and international contexts. More specifically you will study the grass-roots activities of African Americans engaged in various forms of resistance and protest alongside the histories of the major civil rights groups – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). You will interrogate their tactics, examine their often fraught relationships with each other, and assess their achievements and failures in the face of widespread resistance to racial change. You will examine the contributions of the extraordinary ordinary people at the heart of the struggle, as well as those of nationally prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King. In this module you will also analyse the relationship between the civil rights movement and the federal government, address the role of the media and popular culture in shaping both the history and popular understandings of the post-war Freedom Struggle, and examine the international coordinates and impact of the struggles.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending and participating as active learners in structured student-centred seminars. Some aspects of the seminars will be tutor-led, allowing for the presentation of crucial themes, concepts, and historiographical debates, but many will be organized around student presentations, formal debates, and plenary discussions of key issues based on the required and recommended readings that you will undertake each week. In particular, you will get to grapple with primary sources, using them to develop a complex understanding of how the Movement functioned and how conflicting histories of the Movement and its meaning have been generated. Learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (Blackboard) to enable full participation in the seminars. You will participate in formative assessment activities, receive feedback, and will be responsible for your own guided and independent learning. Summative assessment matches your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through engagement with your peers, academic tutors, and programme leaders. Academic support is provided through group/individual tutorials which allow specific issues to be addressed and to promote progress in academic development. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised Feedback and Consultation hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your degree programme, of which this module is part. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and resources available on the eLP. Formative feedback will be on-going through seminar activities and assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. A deep and nuanced knowledge of the major events, themes, concepts, individuals, organizations, and debates (public and scholarly) relating to the post-war African American Freedom Struggle.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Confident use of numerous skills including the ability to make highly informed independent critical judgments on the history and historiography of the Freedom Struggle; to locate, critically evaluate and deploy a disparate range of primary and secondary sources in order to produce coherent arguments and authoritative conclusions.
3. Capacity to undertake focused independent research and formulate pertinent questions relating to the topics studied.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Awareness and sensitivity towards different social groups engaged in struggles for social and economic justice.
5. Curiosity about the nature of the evidence on which our knowledge of the past, and therefore our understandings of the present, depend.

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment will be made up of the following components, each designed to assess different skills and knowledge.

1) Biographical Sketch
You will write a Biographical Sketch, using primary and secondary sources, on an individual involved in the post-war African American Freedom Struggle, selected from a set list of possible subjects.
1,500 words (25% of final mark). MLO 1-3
2) Document Commentaries
Write commentaries on two primary source documents relating to the African American Freedom Struggle, outlining their context, contemporary significance, and historiographical importance by reference to scholarly sources on the topic.
2 x 750-word commentaries (25% of final mark) MLO: 1-5
3) Essay
An essay, either selected from a set list that covers the major themes of the module or, with approval of the module leader, of the student’s creation. The essay should be properly referenced and use both primary and secondary sources.

Essay length: 3,000 words (50% of final mark) MLO: 1-4

You will have the opportunity to present your work in the seminars and will receive formative feedback from your lecturer in classroom discussions, debates, and tutorial sessions. Formative assessment through your lecturer will be written and verbal, and you will also receive feedback through engagement with your peers who will enable you to test your explanations about the nature of the freedom struggle. Feedback on your first summative assessment will allow you to improve on later ones.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code V100

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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