In African American History: From Emancipation through Jim Crow, join Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Associate Professor of African American history at The Ohio State University, to learn about the African American struggle for freedom and civil rights from 1865 to the 1940s. In 12 lectures, accompany Hasan on a journey from Reconstruction to Jackie Robinson’s first Major League Baseball game, examining the unique struggles faced by Black Americans who were technically free but increasingly limited in what they were able to do.
African American History: From Emancipation through Jim Crow
Hasan Kwame Jeffries is an Associate Professor of History at The Ohio State University who teaches, researches, and writes about the African American experience from a historical perspective. He earned a PhD in American History with a specialization in African American History from Duke University. He is the author and narrator of the Audible Original series Great Figures of the Civil Rights Movement, and he tells the remarkable story of the original Black Panther Party in Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt. He is the editor of Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement and the host of the podcast Teaching Hard History.
01: Emancipation: The Fight for Rights Begins
The fight for freedom did not end for Black Americans when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In the course’s inaugural lecture, explore how African Americans participated as soldiers and strikers during the Civil War, and examine their efforts to codify key freedom rights in the late 1860s.
02: The Promise and Betrayal of Reconstruction
As conflicting interpretations of Reconstruction tore the project apart, far more sinister economic and social systems began to take shape—not just in the South but across the United States. Investigate the rise of sharecropping and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the political and legal setbacks that dashed Black hopes for a more equal America after abolition.
03: Separate and Unequal: The Rise of Jim Crow
How was the “separate but equal” doctrine legitimized and enforced in the United States? Learn how one of the most consequential legal decisions in United States history paved the way for years of state-sanctioned discrimination in the South, and explore the ways in which Black Americans fought back.
04: Lift Every Voice and Sing
Crushed under the weight of a system designed to limit their professional and political prospects, African Americans embraced schools, music, literature, churches, and nascent social clubs. Discover how Black communities used culture and institutions to insulate themselves from the harsh realities of the early 20th century.
05: The Terror of White Supremacy
Violent racial terrorism was endemic across the American South in the early 20th century. From Fifth Avenue marches to Congressional bills, see how African Americans worked to protect their communities from extrajudicial violence, and make sense of their embrace of Black boxing champion Jack Johnson in light of these efforts.
06: World War I: Hell in Our Own Land
African Americans served in World War I to advance freedom and equality abroad while contending with rampant discrimination and terror back at home. Explore how the values that justified US involvement in World War I collided with the color line, by zeroing in on the experiences of Black troops.
07: Marcus Garvey Builds a Black Nation
In the early 20th century, a unique kind of ideology gripped the African American community, calling for racial solidarity and emigration to Africa. Get to know Marcus Garvey, the man at the center of early 20th-century Black Nationalism and investigate why scores of African Americans across the United States so readily welcomed his ideas.
08: The “New Negro” Fights Back
African Americans were met with hostility as they searched for higher wages and better lives in the North. At the same time, Black art and business flourished in cities and in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, in particular. Explore the Northern Black experience, from Red Summer to the Harlem Renaissance.
09: The Scottsboro Boys and the Great Depression
Why did the 1931 Scottsboro incident happen the way it did? What impact did the Great Depression have on the Scottsboro case and on African American economic life, in general? And how does any of this relate to public schools in the United States? Tackle these questions and more.
10: A New Deal for African Americans
Understand why so many African Americans, fiercely loyal to the Republican Party for decades, cast their lot with Democratic presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. Explore the varying success of New Deal programs for African Americans, from the revelatory WPA to the outright harmful Home Owners’ Loan Act.
11: World War II: Fighting at Home and Abroad
World War II was more than an overseas military conflict for African Americans. It was simultaneously a battle for defense industry jobs and a desegregated military at home. Become acquainted with A. Philip Randolph, a prominent Black activist, and examine how a major concession from Roosevelt opened doors for African Americans like the Tuskegee airmen.
12: Black Athletes Break Barriers
Black boxers, baseball players, and track stars excelled at the highest levels of American athletics in the mid-20th century, but breaking the color barrier was not easy. Uncover what it meant to be a Black athlete in Jim Crow America, through the life and professional career of Jackie Robinson.