Skip to main content

Unit information: Black Lives Matter: The African American Freedom Struggle (1945-Present) in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Black Lives Matter: The African American Freedom Struggle (1945-Present)
Unit code HIST30095
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Saima Nasar
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores the history of the African American freedom struggle from 1945 to the present day. We will set out to examine the goals, strategies and history of the civil rights movement and assess its importance to contemporary African American experiences. The unit will cover the role of key figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, as well as key events and organisations, such as the SNCC, Black Power and Black Lives Matter. By the end of the course, students will be able to critically research and discuss key concepts in African-American history since 1945.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of the unit, successful students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse key themes and contexts in the modern African American freedom struggle.
  2. Discuss and evaluate the key historiographical debates that surround the topic
  3. Critically assess and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  4. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level H/6

Teaching details

1 x two-hour interactive lecture

1 x one-hour workshop

Assessment Details

One 3000-word summative essay (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

One two-hour exam (50%) [ILOs 1-4]

Reading and References

Howell Raines, My soul is rested: movement days in the Deep South remembered (1983)

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past (2005)

James T. Patterson, Brown v. Board of Education : a civil rights milestone and its troubled legacy (2001)

Leigh Raiford, Imprisoned in a luminous glare: photography and the african american freedom struggle (2011)

August Meier, John H. Bracey, Elliott M. Rudwick, Black protest in the sixties (1991)

Steven F. Lawson, Charles M. Payne, Debating the civil rights movement, 1945-1968 (2006)