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African-American Struggles for Freedom and Civil Rights

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A four-week institute for twenty-five college and university faculty on African-American struggles for equality and rights from Reconstruction to the 1960s.

The institute is co-directed by Waldo Martin (history, University of California, Berkeley) and Patricia Sullivan (history, University of South Carolina). It investigates the following, in four weekly segments: 1) the significance of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era for understanding the evolution of civil rights in the United States, including black political action and the impact of African-American migration to the North; 2) further developments during the Jim Crow period, including the founding of the NAACP and the impact of World War I, the Depression, and World War II; 3) postwar issues, including the desegregation of the armed forces, connections between the U.S. civil rights movement and Cold War anti-colonialism, the impact of Brown v. Board of Education, and women and religion in the movement; and 4) civil rights in the 1960s, including cross-racial alliances, direct action in the South, the nature of black leadership, the year 1963 as a crossroads, and the rise of Black Power. Visiting faculty include Eric Foner (history, Columbia University), Leon Litwack (history, University of California, Berkeley), Bettye Collier-Thomas (history, Temple University), Raymond Gavins (history, Duke University), Gerald Early (English, Washington University), Peter Guralnick (writer-in-residence, Vanderbilt University), Peniel Joseph (history, Tufts University), Blair Kelley (history, North Carolina State University), Kimberley Phillips (history, Brooklyn College, City University of New York), and Stanley Nelson (filmmaker). The institute features panel discussions, oral history sessions with movement veterans, and work on curricular projects. Readings consist of major scholarly works, including writings by institute faculty members, such as Steven Hahn's A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, Leon Litwack's Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow, Blair Kelley's Right to Ride: Street Car Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Aftermath of Plessey v. Ferguson, and Kim Phillips's new book, War, What is It Good For? Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq. They are supplemented by music and documentary films. The team intends to create a comprehensive project website based on work done in past and present institutes.

Faculty: Eric Foner, Steven Hahn, Blair Kelly, Leon Litwack, Gerald Early, Kimberly Phillips, Bettye Collier-Thomas, Clark Johnson, Stanley Nelson, Ezra Edelman, Margaret Burnham, Dorothy Burnham, Esther Cooper Jackson, Raymond Gavins, Peter Guralnick, Peniel Joseph, Lewis Steel



Dates: July 1–26 (4 weeks)
Director(s): Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University; Waldo Martin, University of California, Berkeley; and Patricia Sullivan, University of South Carolina
Grantee Institutions: Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, MA

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.