Citizenship and Freedom: The Civil Rights Era
Professor Nancy Clark Department of History
This semester, LSU Honors students have the rare opportunity of learning about the impact of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life from his colleagues. The LSU Honors College, in cooperation with the University System of Maryland, will offer a hybrid online course, HNRS 2013 Citizenship and Freedom: The Civil Rights Era. The course will cover Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s career and the profound effect his life had on the burgeoning civil rights movement.
Taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Taylor Branch, author of the trilogy America in the King Years, the undergraduate seminar will be offered as an online and classroom-based course to LSU Honors College students. Branch will teach the course through the University of Baltimore and broadcast it nationwide through collaboration with the University System of Maryland. Dr. Nancy Clark will partner with Branch to teach the course in an LSU setting and to facilitate classroom instruction.
The course will examine such landmark historical events as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and Vietnam protests. It seeks to explore not only the growth of the Civil Rights Movement, but also the movement’s effect on the social climate of America. Coursework will frame ongoing debates about race, democratic governance, and violent vs. nonviolent methods of resistance.
Among the course highlights are interviews and personal appearances by surviving leaders of the movement, such as John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Diane Nash, Bob Moses, and Julian Bond. Ultimately the course will study the Civil Rights Movement as a transformative time in American history, as detailed through the personal stories of its primary actors.
This course is a pioneering venture for not only LSU, but also for higher education. By linking classrooms across America, the course provides the opportunity for LSU Honors College students to access previously unavailable learning tools. The Honors College has always advocated small, seminar-based learning environments. With this new course, students can still make the most of a conveniently limited class size, while utilizing the online format of the course to share and develop ideas. This hybrid course and the new intellectual tools it presents have the potential to transform our local classrooms into a global university setting.