Civil Rights Public History Miniterm
The Civil Rights Public History Miniterm is a three week (full credit) tour of the sites of major Civil Rights actions in the South. The goal of this miniterm is to learn about the most influential social movement of the twentieth century by travelling to places where the battle over civil rights was fought and meeting some of the men and women who made the movement possible- both major leaders and grassroots participants.
The miniterm will begin in Charleston, where we consider the background of the movement. We tour historic sites, among them a slave mart, plantations with original slave cabins, and Sullivan’s Island, a slave trade port that is sometimes called the African American “Ellis Island” because it is estimated that 40% of African Americans today have ancestors who came to the United States on slave ships through this port. Our visit to Charleston allows us to explore the first three centuries of African American history and the early emergence of resistance.
The next two weeks will be spent traveling (on a tour bus) to sites of the major civil rights actions, including Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and Parsonage in Montgomery, AL, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spearheaded the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the Pettus Bridge in Selma, where 600 civil rights marchers were attacked with clubs and tear gas; Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, where police turned dogs and firemen turned hoses on demonstrators, many of whom were children; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, the site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Along the way, we meet with a number of civil rights activists. Among the people we met on our 2009 trip were Charles Person, a freedom rider who was beaten by a Klan mob when he attempted to integrate a Greyhound Bus Station, Dr. C.T. Vivian, a Reverend who was a close ally of Dr. King and a major Civil Rights leader in his own right, Joanne Bland, a woman who marched across the Pettus Bridge on “Bloody Sunday,” and Minnijean Brown Trickey and Thelma Mothershed Wair, both members of the Little Rock Nine. We end our tour in New Orleans, where we consider both the enormous successes and the persistent limits of the heroic struggles of the Civil Rights Movement.
South Africa Miniterm
Students on the South Africa miniterm will learn the history of South Africa as understood in the public arena through visits to museums, monuments and national historic sites; as understood in the memory and consciousness of South African people by participating in community events and speaking with activists; and as understood in the historical record through classroom study. Students will document their experiences in a notebook, as well as keep a photo, tape recorded, video or digital record of their experiences.
Students are hosted by the Centre for Open Learning, University of Cape Town (UCT). They receive classroom instruction at UCT and reside in campus dormitories. Students meet on a regular basis for classroom instruction on South African history, covering the experiences of the nation in the pre-colonial, colonial, apartheid, and post-apartheid eras. Classroom instruction is combined with visits to museums, monuments, and archives, and with tours of townships, community centers, and environmental reserves. Among the sites visited are the Bo Kaap Museum, the District Six Museum, the Apartheid Museum, Robben Island Prison (where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison) and Soweto Township. The final week of the miniterm includes travel to neighboring wildlife and nature reserves, including a visit to an ostrich farm and a guided safari on a private farm.