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History: The Civil Rights Movement and Black Radicalism by Katie Crone Barber, The University of Sheffield

5th December 2013 @ 15:40 - 16:40

During this session, Katie Crone Barber, a PhD researcher in the Department of History, will aim to draw out certain themes within the Civil Rights Movement historiography, in particular the idea of Black Radicalism. This will include discussions about what ‘radicalism’ meant, who was called a radical, and what contributions radical thinkers made to the long civil rights movement. This will be done by looking at the contributions of the following individuals.

o W.E.B. DuBois (Pan-Africanist, founder of the NAACP)

o Marcus Garvey (radical Pan-Africanist, founder of the UNIA)

o Robert F. Williams (NAACP branch President)

o Maida Springer (labour organiser)

o Stokely Carmichael (Black Power activist)

This should coincide with the A-level course on the Civil Rights Movement both thematically and with the focus on individuals. Radicalism was largely absent from the high era of the CRM but being able to identify it is crucial to understanding the long history which students now study. The individuals listed above all made important contributions to civil rights activism, but are usually overlooked in civil rights literature.

The session will encourage students to consider some of the problems of the civil rights movement as a movement with a single identity – lots of people were talking about different ways to represent African Americans.

The session will involve elements of both teaching and university-style seminars in which the students will be encouraged to discuss certain ideas and questions.


Suitable for: Year 12/Year 13

Preparation/Pre-reading: Students are encouraged to consider the meaning of the word ‘radicalism.’ What does it mean to be a radical? Why were some groups called ‘radical’ and others not? What problems did these ‘radical’ groups face?

I would suggest that students pick one of the people listed above and try to find out some biographical detail about them. The weblinks associated with each will be of use here. This will be discussed during the session.


5th December 2013
15:40 - 16:40
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