Reading Assignment | American history

Reading Assignment | American history

1) What role did “ordinary” or local people play in the civil rights movement? How did children contribute to the struggle for social change?

2) Why did the federal government intervene in the civil rights movement? What were the major pieces of legislation enacted, and how did they dismantle legalized segregation?

3) What were the ideologies, objectives, and tactics of the major civil rights organizations and their leaders?

4) Who were some of the people who lost their lives in the civil rights struggle?

5) What were the major success and failures of the freedom movement? What intergenerational tensions plagued the movement? How did the movement transform American politics and society?

6) Why did African Americans in Watts, Newark, and Detroit rebel in 1965-1967? What did these rebellions suggest about the value of the civil rights movement victories?

7) How did the visions and ideals, successes and failures of Martin Luther King, Jr., compare with those of Lyndon Johnson? Why were these men at odds with each other?

8) What role did African Americans play in the Vietnam War?

9) In what ways can the presidency of Richard Nixon be considered progressive? Which reforms initiated by President Johnson did Nixon advance once he took office? What was “the southern strategy”?

10) What were the major ideological concerns of the black arts movement? To what extent did James Baldwin and Amiri Baraka have similar views about art, consciousness, aesthetics, and politics?

11) Why did African Americans not form a third political party? Why was the rise of black elected officials so significant?

12) Why were African Americans disappointed with the presidency of Jimmy Carter?

13) What social, economic, and material gains did African Americans make after the civil rights era? Why did some black Americans do better than others during this period? How are tensions surrounding class stratification manifested in the black community?

14) Why do white Americans tend to live longer than black Americans? How has the black community dealt with the problems of HIV/AIDS?

15) Who were some of the most important African American writers, performers, and social critics in the late twentieth century? What is hip-hop, and what is meant by the term the “hip-hop planet”? What is the relationship between rap music and hip-hop?

16) What are the goals of the Afrocentricity movement? Why is it controversial?

17) Why has the church remained so important to African Americans? How are women’s roles changing in the black church?

18) Were the Millenium Marches a success? Why has Louis Farrakhan been so controversial?

19) How has immigration from the Caribbean and Africa affected black America? What factors gave rise to black feminism? What problems do black gays and lesbians face in the black community?

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