Course Detail

ID 6146
Course ID EES85QBL
Course Name Black lives in lit eng5
Years Active 2020
Terms Active 1
On Course Selection Form No
Course Placement No
Special Permission Course No
Credits Awarded 1.0
Retakeable No
Rules Fulfilling
Eligibility Rule

Additional Course Information

Additional Information for Course Exceptions Required? No

Black Lives in Literature

“I, too, sing America. 

I am the darker brother.” 

--Langston Hughes, 1926

This course celebrates Black American writers and their rich, diverse, and powerful stories. It is meant to acknowledge and uphold Langston Hughes’s message in his poem, “I, Too” -- that Black people deserve a seat “at the table,” that their stories tell hard truths about our country and what it means to call ourselves Americans. Many of the writers in this course will examine the enduring legacy and effects of slavery. Some will explore how rebellion is a form of resilience and power. Some will ask modern readers to grapple with their own privilege and inherent biases. Others will emphasize ways in which the Black experience is not singular, and all will offer beautiful, necessary, and thought-provoking perspectives. 

For some of the authors in this course, writing was a form of freedom. I’d like to think about ways in which our own writing can be powerful, cathartic, and a coping mechanism, too. We’ll emulate some of the creative writing styles of our course authors, we’ll interview and tell the untold story of a character in our own lives, and we’ll write for a larger audience than just me, your teacher. 

This is a class for students of all backgrounds interested in examining the impacts of race, and I invite students to bring their unique, complex, and racialized experiences into our daily conversations. This one-semester class is open to juniors as an English selective that can replace a semester of core American Literature, and to all juniors and seniors as an elective.

Our Texts May Include: 

Homegoing (2016) by Yaa Gyasi

The Nickel Boys (2019) by Colson Whitehead 

Between the World and Me (2015) by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Salvage the Bones (2011) by Jesmyn Ward

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

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) 

Excerpts from The New York Times’s 1619 Project (2019) 

Syllabus Download