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Step 1:

Watch the online lecture, “Gender and the Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Here’s the link on YouTube:

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Step 2: 

Listen to these two songs: 1) “Strange Fruit” by Nina Simone and 2) “Now” by Lena Horne

“Strange Fruit” by Nina Simone

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“Now” by Lena Horne (you can skip to minute 1)

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Step 3:

Read Chapter 4, “There’s Open Season on Negroes Now,” from At The Dark End of the Street by Danielle McGuire

Guiding Questions

Use these questions to help you focus on the main points of the material this week.

  1. How did sexual violence help to enforce or protect the system of Jim Crow segregation in the South?
  2. What do this reading and the lecture reveal to you about the role that black women played in the history of the Civil Rights movement? What stood out to you the most about the reading?
  3. How central was black women’s anti-rape activism to the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement? (use the lecture and reading for this one).
  4. How were fears around interracial sex used to oppose de-segregation efforts during the Civil Rights Movement?
  5. How historically significant do you think it is that white men never were executed for raping black women, but black men were often lynched and executed? What does this tell you about the history of race, gender, and sexuality of the United States?
  6. Danielle McGuire examines the “kissing game” between two 8-9 year old black boys and young white girls. What was it, and what was the outcome?

Bonus Material

There are lots of good documentaries and interesting books about the Civil Rights Movement, many of which focus at least in part on women/gender and the Civil Rights Movement. 

I highly recommend you watch the Eyes on the Prize documentary series about the Civil Rights Movement, all of which is available through Films on Demand for free (which you can access for free through the ARC library website).

Trailer for Eyes on the Prize

Soundtrack for a Revolution, a documentary about the use of song in the Civil Rights Movement:

Freedom Riders, a documentary about the Freedom Rides of 1961 to desegregate interstate travel.

4 Little Girls, a documentary about the 4 African American girls killed in the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. Here’s the full documentary.

Last, but not least, here are a couple of “Drunk History” episodes about the Civil Rights Movement!

Here’s one about the Little Rock 9 who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957:

Here’s another about the Claudette Colvin story!

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