HIST3097: Freedom Riders

Beyond Mississippi, Memphis, and Montgomery


Racism neither existed in a past tense nor has its historical virulence been confined to the Southern United States. This course encourages community (and national historical) engagement by challenging the chronological and geographical narrative of institutional racism in the United States. Lynchings, bombings, and police brutality were neither con􀂡ned to the South, nor bound by a ten-year “heyday.” By highlighting the ways in which the (lore of the) black freedom struggle is mirrored and intricately connected to the experiences of black Americans living in vastly different locales, this course seeks to expand student research, writing, and thinking skills with regards to a more holistic context of the national struggle for equal access, inclusion, and opportunity in America.

A commitment to develop global citizen scholars must first begin at home. James Baldwin once wrote, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” Baldwin’s  assessment of the complexities of history speaks directly to the importance of the creation a course like Freedom Riders—it disrupts outdated narratives about the actual history and consequences of racial inequality in America, and allows us to push beyond the boundaries of symbolism to a place where we can honestly wrestle with the laws and promises of our nation.

Important to Note

Also titled "History Honors Seminar II" in Catalyst.

Past Offerings