Special Subject: The Civil Rights Movement Part 2 (V1378B)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

The civil rights movement was one of the most remarkable and important developments in twentieth century American history.

Focusing primarily on the period from the Second World War up until the end of the 1970s, you chart the course of African Americans’ fight against racial discrimination and segregation across the nation as a whole, and its impact upon American society and politics.

From the beaches of northern France to the Supreme Court, from the National Mall to the wooden shacks of the black rural South and urban ghetto streets, African Americans’ fight for racial equality and economic justice transformed many of the nation’s key institutions.

You also explore the various developments that shaped the course of black protest, including:

  • migration and urbanization
  • domestic anticommunism and anticolonial struggles worldwide
  • suburbanization and the white conservative resurgence
  • divisive struggles over foreign policy at home
  • the fight over affirmative action and busing in the 1970s.

Throughout the module, you learn about the key organisations, debates, events, and leaders of the civil rights movement, and the Black Power movement that followed it. You also engage with the major historiographical debates concerning the period.

The course concludes by considering the relationship between the historical reputation of Martin Luther King and ‘master’ narrative of the period, and conservatives’ efforts to roll back the gains made by African Americans in the decades since.


100%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: