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#CharlestonSyllabus Research Guide

A curated guide on racial violence and race relations in the US based on readings compiled by African-American scholars following the devastating events of June 2015 in Charleston, SC.

African-American Literature

Charles W. Chestnutt, The House Behind the Cedars (1900)

James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)

Nella Larson, Quicksand (1928)

Nella Larson, Passing (1929)

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Richard Wright, Black Boy (1945)

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain (1953)

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition (1969)

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970)

Ernest J. Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1971)

Toni Cade Bambara, Gorilla, My Love (1972)

Richard Wright, American Hunger (1977)

Octavia E. Butler, Kindred (1979)

Alice Walker, You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down (1981)

John Edgar Wideman, Brothers and Keepers (1984)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990)

Walter Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)

Edward P. Jones, Lost in the City (1992)

Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying (1993)

Rita Dove, The Darker Face of the Earth (1994)

Tananarive Due, The Between (1996)

Charles W. Chestnut, Conjure Tales and Stories of the Color Line (2000)

Lalita Tademy, Cane River (2001)

Edward P. Jones, The Known World (2003)

Percival Everett, Damned if I Do: Stories (2004)

Toni Morrison, A Mercy (2008)

Ntozake Shange, Some Sing, Some Cry (2010)

Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (2010)

Lorene Cary, If Sons, Then Heirs (2011)

Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped: A Memoir (2013)

Jeffery Renard Allen, Song of the Shank: A Novel (2014)

Kekla Magoon, How It Went Down (2014)

Jina Ortiz and Rochelle Spencer, eds., All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (2014)

Alysia Burton Steele, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom (2015)

Selected Primary Sources

David Walker, “Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World” (1829)

Absalom Jones, “A Thanksgiving Sermon” (1808)

Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831)

Richard Allen, The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen (1833)

Charles Ball, A Narrative of the Life of Charles Ball (1837)

Henry Highland Garnet, “An Address To The Slaves Of The United States” (1843)

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845)

Frederick Douglass, “Slaveholding Religion and the Christianity of Christ” (1845)

Jarena Lee, Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee (1849)

“What to the Slave is the Fourth Of July?” (1852)

Benjamin Morgan Palmer, “Thanksgiving Sermon” (1860)

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, A Red Record: Alleged Causes of Lynching (1895)

Mark Smith, ed. Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt

WPA Slave Narratives (1930s)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From a Birmingham Jail (1963)

Charles Morgan, “A Time to Speak” (1963)

Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)

Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

John Lewis, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement (1998)

David Halberstam, The Children (1998)

Manning Marable and Leith Mullings, eds., Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform, and Renewal (2000)

Jane Dailey, The Age of Jim Crow: A Norton Casebook in History (2009)

James W. Loewen and Edward H. Sebesta, The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader (2010)

Multimedia Resources: Films, Music & Websites


Spike Lee, Do The Right Thing (1989)

William Elwood, The Road to Brown (1990)

Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Terrence Francis, Black Sci-Fi (1992)

Haile Gerima, Sankofa (1993)

Toni Morrison, Beloved (1999)

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005)

Harry Moore, Michael Carter, et. al., Black Wall Street, Tulsa (2007)

Bestor Cram et al., Scarred Justice: the Orangeburg Massacre 1968 (2009)

Göran Hugo Olsson et al., The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 (2011)

Douglas Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name (2012)

Kerry Taylor, The Charleston Hospital Workers Movement, 1968–1969 (2013)

Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station (2013)

Dawn Porter, Rick Bowers, et al., Spies of Mississippi (2014)


“Oh Freedom” (approx. 1865)

Paul Robeson’s Version of “No More Auction Block” (Gustavus D. Pike, 1873)

Bessie Smith, “Preachin’ the Blues” (1927)

Louis Armstrong, “Black and Blue” (1929)

Bessie Smith,”Long Old Road” (1931)

Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” (1939)

Big Maybelle, “Gabbin’ Blues” (1952)

Odetta, “Spiritual Trilogy: Oh, Freedom; Come And Go With Us; I’m On My Way (1956)

Theolonius Monk, “Blue Monk” (1958)

Nina Simone, “Chilly Winds Don’t Blow” (1959)

We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite (1960)

John Coltrane, “Alabama (1963)

Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come (1964)

Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddamn” (1964)

Bob Dylan, “Only a Pawn in their Game” (1964)

The Impressions, “Keep on Pushing” (1964)

Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1970)

The Temptations, “Ball of Confusion” (1970)

Marvin Gaye, “Inner City Blues/Makes Me Wanna Holler (1971)

Donny Hathaway, “Someday We’ll All Be Free (1973)

The McIntosh County Shouters, “Wade the Water to My Knees (1984)

The Specials, “Racist Friend” (1984)

The Freedom Singers, “In the Mississippi River (1997)

Stephen Said, “The Ballad of Abner Louima (1997)

Wynton Marsalis, “Blood on the Fields” (1997)

Sweet Honey in the Rock, “Ella’s Song” (1998)

J.B. Lenoir, “Alabama Blues” (2004)

Wynton Marsalis, “From the Plantation to the Penitentiary (2007)

Mavis Staples, “Down In Mississippi” (2007)

John Legend ft. Common, “Glory” (2015)

Kendrick Lamar, “The Blacker The Berry (2015) *Explicit content

Vince Staples, “Lift Me Up (2015) *Explicit content

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (2015) *Explicit content


After Slavery: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas

Charleston Hospital Workers Movement, 1968-1969

The Color Line–on the History of Racism in the U.S.

Facing History and Ourselves’ List of Resources on Teaching Reconstruction

Hudson River Valley Heritage Digital Collection of Primary Sources

RACE: A Public Education Project through the American Anthropological Association

Voices from the Days of Slavery (Library of Congress)

Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America

Zinn Education Project–Teaching a People’s History