AAST 247:
african american
history to 1877


Course Description

Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, twelve million Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas.  This course examines one stream of this forced migration to what would eventually become the United States.  It will provide a general knowledge of the major themes and issues in the history of African-descended people in the Unites States, from their first arrival in North America, through the processes of enslavement and the growth of plantation slavery, to the end of slavery and the aftermath of Reconstruction.  We will explore the black struggle for freedom and full citizenship and the long process of emancipation.  We will trace the emergence of a distinct African American culture, and pay special attention to how black men and women struggled to create community, give meaning to their labor, establish and protect family ties, and preserve bodily integrity.  Black men and women daily performed large and small acts resistance to the institutions of slavery and racial discrimination, and we will therefore investigate the array of actions that black men and women took on their own behalf to overcome the constraints under which they lived.  We will simultaneously investigate the ways gender shaped the experience of slavery and freedom for African-American women and men.

More about this class!

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Cynthia Blair
Associate Professor of African American Studies & ​History

Contact Info

Office: 1231 UH
Email: cmblair@uic.edu

Curriculum Vitae


What Does African American American Studies Mean to You?

"The study of African American life, history, and culture embodies a commitment to explore and expose what it means to live black in the United States, and engages us in a complex analysis of past and present struggles for freedom.  African American Studies offers a necessary corrective to imposed silences about race, gender, and sexuality in American society.  For me, it provides a critical perspective on America's past and present and is the basis for a far-reaching vision of social justice, locally and globally."--Cynthia Blair

Course Information

3 hours. Same as HIST 247. Prerequisite(s): One course in African American studies or history, or consent of the instructor.

Requirements Met

Past Course
US Society Course


Cultural Production & Analysis
Race, Politics & Institutions

When is it Offered?

Fall Semester