History of the African American Book, 1773-1973

Current Faculty: Randall K. Burkett & Gabrielle Dudley

Description: African American-authored and African American-published books constitute a vital part of African American cultural production, from Phillis Wheatley’s POEMS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS, RELIGIOUS AND MORAL to the flourishing of black publishing during the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  This course will focus on black print culture–the world of printed material written by and for, and often published within, African American communities.  Certain periods will be highlighted:  the black abolitionist texts of the antebellum period; the explosion of black writing and publishing in the post-Reconstruction era, when African Americans found themselves subjected to a new, virulent racism; and the Black Arts Movement, understood as the cultural expression of the Black Power Movement.

Attention will be paid not only to books and pamphlets but also to broadsides, periodicals, flyers, bookplates, book marks, scrapbooks, sheet music, photographs, funeral programs, church fans, posters, buttons, pins, ribbons, and other print ephemera. Field trips to area libraries will be included.

Years taught: 2016, 2018