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IPLS 492-0 : Special Topics: Black Activism in Chicago


Black political activism in the city of Chicago has historically been a multi-varied phenomenon. Prominent and ordinary Black Chicagoans have responded to institutional or structural racism, specific racial incidents or problems impacting the African American community through organizational efforts and the power of the community. This course will explore ten historical incidents in which Black Chicagoans organized to make change. “Political activism” is loosely defined here and does not just mean running for public office. We will specifically look at Ida B. Wells’ fight against the horrors of lynching and her efforts to organize Black Chicago women, Robert Abbott’s creation and management of the Chicago Defender and his founding of Black Chicago legacy events such as the Bud Billiken parade, Carl Augustus Hansberry’s fight against restrictive covenants in the city and the impact that it had on his daughter Lorraine’s artistry, the organizational efforts of CORE (Congress of Racial Equity) and other entities to fight school segregation in the city in the early 1960s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s work in Chicago in 1966 and the creation of the Chicago Freedom Movement, Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers’ work in Chicago in the late 1960s and the war against them by both the Daley Administration and the FBI, Harold Washington’s political career and his Mayorship in the 1980s, Black Chicago AIDS activism in the 1990s and current efforts to fight the disease, the careers of Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot and the role of Black women in Chicago politics, and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement and its achievements in the city of Chicago. Students will conduct an original research project this semester, using primary resources from the Vivian G. Harsh Collection at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, the collections at the main Chicago Public Library, the resources of the Chicago History Museum or the collections of the Gerber-Hart Library. (This course may count towards the American Studies, Chicago Studies, History or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in liberal studies program. This course may count towards the American Literature, or Interdisciplinary Studies specializations in the master of arts in literature program. It may also count as an elective in the creative writing program. Additionally, this course may count towards certain certificates of graduate studies.)

Summer 2021
Start/End DatesDay(s)TimeBuildingSection
06/24/21 - 08/26/21Th
7 – 9:30 p.m. 50
InstructorCourse LocationStatusCAESAR Course ID
Butters, Gerald
Remote Campus
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