Dr. Quintard Taylor, Jr.
Scott and Dorothy Bullitt
Professor of American History
 
 
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African American History | African American History in the West (Now available at www.blackpast.org)  


History 540A:
Seminar, The 20th Century African American Urban West
Syllabus and Course Assignments

Download Course Syllabus (word document)

Office Hours: 3:30-5:00 MW
Fall, 2002

INTRODUCTION:

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.

SEMINAR READINGS:

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.

RESEARCH PAPER:

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. 

GRADING

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 Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003)

Andrew Wiese, Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004)

Required Books (Purchase):

Lawrence B. de Graaf, Kelvin Mulroy Quintard Taylor, eds., Seeking El Dorado: African Americans in California (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001)

Gerald Horne, Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995)

Shirley Ann Moore, To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California, 1910-1963 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001)

Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era (Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1994)

Required Books (on library reserve):

Scott Ellsworth, Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982)

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 Texas: Politics and Development (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990)

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 Los Angeles: Ideology and Community in the American Garvey Movement (Los Angeles: UCLA Afro-American Studies Center, 1980)

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

 WEEKLY READING ASSIGNMENTS:

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)

 Taylor, The Forging of A Black Community, Chapter 1

 Cary D. Wintz, “The Emergence of a Black Neighborhood: Houston’s Fourth Ward, 1865-1915,” in Miller and Sanders, Urban Texas. (on reserve)

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 San Francisco Bay Area, 1915-1930,” Arizona and the West 23:4 (Winter, 1981):335-354.

Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community, Chapter 2.

Week IV: PROSPERITY AND DEPRESSION: 1921-1940

Moore, To Place Our Deeds, Chapter 1

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.

Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community, Chapters 3-4

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 Los Angeles during and after World War II," in de Graaf, Mulroy and Taylor, Seeking El Dorado, pp. 309-340. (on reserve)

Moore, To Place Our Deeds, Chapters 2-3.

Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community, Chapter 6 

Week VI: THE POST-WAR BLACK WEST: 1946-1960

Stuart McElderry, "Building a West Coast Ghetto: African American Housing in Portland, 1910-1960, Pacific Northwest Quarterly 92:3 (Summer 2001):137-148

Moore, To Place Our Deeds, Chapter 4

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, "Deindustrializaton, Urban Poverty and African American Community Mobilization in Oakland, 1945 through the 1990s," in de Graaf, Mulroy and Taylor, Seeking El Dorado, pp. 343-376 (on reserve)

Week VII: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE WEST: 1961-1965

Carl R. Graves, “The Right to be Served: Oklahoma City’s Lunch Counter Sit-Ins, 1958-1964,” Chronicles of Oklahoma 59:2 (Summer, 1981):152-166

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 Phoenix Civil Rights Movement,” Journal of Arizona History 32:2 (Summer 1991):195-216

Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community, pp. 190-216

Week VIII:  BLACK POWER IN THE URBAN WEST  

Gerald Horne, Fire This Time, Chapters 1-2, 10-11, Epilogue

Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community, pp. 216-232.

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