- About YDS
- Admissions & Aid
- Life at YDS
- Faculty & Research
Martin King, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement
With special emphasis on the speeches and public work of Martin King, this course will consider how black religious culture, practices and institutions helped to shape the black freedom movement of the 1950s and 60s. We will explore other figures including Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X and consider how they shaped and challenged the role Afro-Protestant culture had in determining the moral language and political strategies associated with the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout the course we will also consider how the civil rights movement has been interpreted and how artists, activists, historians, and theologians have made use of this past in service of their own political, religious and ideological aims.
The principal course objective is to foster the ability to analyze the black freedom movement of the 1950 and 60s while cultivating the ability to think, write and speak critically about the past and the intersection of religion and politics around issues of race and economic inequality.
Required reading, plus papers, reports, etc.): Most weeks there will be around 100 pages a week of required reading. Participation is assessed through attendance and active contribution to the online forum on a weekly basis (20 percent). There is, in addition, an in-class mid-term exam (20 percent), an interpretative essay for an assigned text (20 percent), and a take home exam (or research project) (40 percent).