The Amazing James Baldwin 6 week online course

Wednesday 25 Jan for 6 weeks

The Amazing James Baldwin: An exciting, interactive multi-media online course on the incredible cultural legacy of this dynamic activist

The Amazing James Baldwin: An exciting, interactive multi-media online course referenced by the recent Baldwin  film dramatisation ‘If Beale Street could Talk‘.  This course also references the Oscar-nominated documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro’. This six-week course is an introduction to James Baldwin and a selection of his works. The course draws on a range of written and visual material to present an overview of his writings and contributions to the questions of race and identity, examining how they continue to impact us now.

We will use obscure video clips of James Baldwin (interviews, speeches, TV appearances) and some of his most widely received fiction and non-fiction writing, including Going to Meet the Man, Sonny’s Blues, Notes of a Native Son, and The Fire Next Time. Rare photos, paintings, and sketches that capture his spirit are also included.

Course Objectives

  • Introduce Baldwin’s work to a new generation
  • Highlight and explore his lesser known works
  • Use his analysis of 1960s-80s society to interrogate present day local and global racism
  • Promote the consumption of Black history and literature
  • Provide a network of like-minded people

Course Leaders: Dr Michelle Asantewa, and Tony Warner.

Six previous physical courses at the Black Cultural Archives, New Beacon Books and Genesis cinemas in London all sold out so don’t delay booking. This will be an online ‘camera on’ session with interaction between the participants and speakers

Weekly Schedule for The Amazing James Baldwin:WEEK 1:White Gods, Angry Black Men and the French connection. ‘Notes of a Native Son’ (1955):Overview of this first collection of essays with particular attention to ‘Autobiographical Notes,’ ‘Notes of a Native Son’ and ‘A question of Identity’, which will explore Baldwin’s identity as a writer and experiences as a Black man in America during the height of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and highlighting parallels to movements of today such as Black Lives Matter.

WEEK 2:Words as Weapons of Resistance: ‘Everybody’s Protest Novel’ and ‘Many Thousands gone’ (essays from ‘Notes of a Native Son’):Reading and assessment of these two essays from ‘Notes of a Native Son’. Critical of fellow African American writer and mentor Richard Wright’s book ‘Native Son’, they served to distinguish the commitment and art of the two writers on the question of resistance or ‘protest’ literature.

WEEK 3:Race and the media, what changes have been made from 50s – 60s?’The Fire Next Time’ (1963): Continues the assessment of the race question through Baldwin’s closer examination of its persisting impacts of Africans in America and the question posed in the documentary ‘I am not your Negro’, which is for ‘White America’ and more widely white supremacists everywhere to bear the responsibility to rationalise their need and constructions of the‘n***er/negro.’

WEEK 4:How to make a racist – reflections on ‘Going to Meet the Man’(short story 1965 from collection of same name):From his first collection of short stories of the same name(1965). In this story, Baldwin examines the makings of a racist from his childhood experiences attending picnic lynchings with his family to becoming a state official (County Sheriff) with powers to arrest and beat up Black protestors. Comparisons are drawn from current abuses by State Police (US)and experiences of stop and search/profiling used disproportionately on Black men in the UK, which expand on the psychological impact of racism.

WEEK 5:Jazz, Grime, Ghettos and Road Men – ‘Sonny’s Blues.’ (short story from the collection ‘Going to Meet the Man’):Explores Baldwin’s literary style and techniques; particularly, the use of ‘flashback’ and intensity of language. This short story captures the repressions felt by young Black people, especially boys born in deprived, communities with which they are disenchanted and are driven to sub-cultures of criminality, drug addiction and violence. Baldwin uses blues and jazz music to reflect the possibility of creative expression that could alleviate the sense of hopelessness and lack of opportunities.

WEEK 6:If Beale Street Could Talk: A mature writer by the time he wrote this book in 1974, Baldwin continues his exploration of love between a young couple and the love that sustains families and communities despite the obstacles that could otherwise force them to implode. This session explores the further development of Baldwin’s literary technique and style as compared to his earlier writings and his commitment to shaping narratives as told by the people themselves – in this case a pregnant teenager Tish (the protagonist). It will also explore the film adaptation of the book, by Barry Jenkins,which led to an Oscar award for actress Regina King in 2019.

Essential Reading:Notes of a Native Son –(1955)The Fire Next Time– (1963)Going to Meet the Man (short Story Collection – 1965)If Beale Street Could Talk (1974, book) and 2019 film adaptation FILM: I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017)​

Further reading:The Wretched of the Earth (1961, essay ‘On concerning Violence’) Frantz Fanon Films. Concerning Violence directed by Goran Olsson. The Battle of Algiers

Every Wednesday 6.30-8.30pm (UK time), live via Zoom from 25h January, for six weeks. Cost £105.00

swww.blackhistorywalks.co.uk

Other events from www.blackhistorywalks.co.uk:

  • African Women Resistance Leaders: Political and Spiritual (online course)
  • Black History Thames  river cruise
  • Black History London bus tour
  • Black Films and White Power: 15 Years of African Odysseys (online course)
  • Black history walks in Mayfair, Hackney, Soho,Theatreland, Soho
  • African Hair Before Bondage (online talk)
  • Zombies and the Demonisation of African Spirituality
  • Black Films and White Power (online talk and course)
  • Eugenics and White Supremacy
  • Image of the Black in London Galleries
  • African Superheroes Day
  • Tutankhamun and Spirit of The Pharoahs
  • Pilots of the Caribbean+Tuskeegee Airmen

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Reviews of Black History Walks, Tours & Talks

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Extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant

I just wanted to let you know that the students REALLY enjoyed the tour yesterday. I polled them in class and everyone overwhelmingly had positive things to say. They particularly enjoyed how you incorporated modern day information into the tour. They said it was extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant. And today it was great listening to them as they walked around central London, noticing some of the things you'd pointed out. So, your work was very well received. Well done and thank you!

Lori Tharps, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T12:12:20+01:00

Lori Tharps, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Journalism, Temple University, USA

I just wanted to let you know that the students REALLY enjoyed the tour yesterday. I polled them in class and everyone overwhelmingly had positive things to say. They particularly enjoyed how you incorporated modern day information into the tour. They said it was extremely informative and made it seem all really relevant. And today it was great listening to them as they walked around central London, noticing some of the things you'd pointed out. So, your work was very well received. Well done and thank you!

Best element of the trip

You may hear this often, but many of my students named your tour as the best element of the trip last time.

Nancy Comerau, Assistant Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T12:28:53+01:00

Nancy Comerau, Assistant Professor of English, Ohio Wesleyan University, USA

You may hear this often, but many of my students named your tour as the best element of the trip last time.

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday. Students were really energized. Thanks so much.

Bill Mullen, Professor of English and American Studies, Purdue University, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:27:53+01:00

Bill Mullen, Professor of English and American Studies, Purdue University, USA

Absolutely brilliant lecture and walk yesterday. Students were really energized. Thanks so much.

A rich and detailed learning experience

Our guide's encyclopedic knowledge of the area, and his passion for black history, made for a rich and detailed learning experience. He was friendly and engaging, frequently involving the students in dialogue and relating his points to places and subjects that are familiar to them. The students were fascinated throughout and learned a great deal. We recommend this tour most highly!

Rebecca Whisnant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton, USA

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:28:21+01:00

Rebecca Whisnant, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of Dayton, USA

Our guide's encyclopedic knowledge of the area, and his passion for black history, made for a rich and detailed learning experience. He was friendly and engaging, frequently involving the students in dialogue and relating his points to places and subjects that are familiar to them. The students were fascinated throughout and learned a great deal. We recommend this tour most highly!

The children talk about it for a long time afterwards

I would really like to book two black history walk dates around St Pauls and the Barbican for our two year 6 classes. We have done them for the last two years and the children always learn such a lot and talk about it for a long time afterwards.

Helen Davies, Head of Year 6, John Scurr School, Tower Hamlets

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:29:08+01:00

Helen Davies, Head of Year 6, John Scurr School, Tower Hamlets

I would really like to book two black history walk dates around St Pauls and the Barbican for our two year 6 classes. We have done them for the last two years and the children always learn such a lot and talk about it for a long time afterwards.

I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture

Thank you for organizing a wonderful walking tour for my students. You are incredibly knowledgeable, and it was such a joy to hear your take on things. The students loved this field trip. You did an excellent job relating the history, culture, and social contributions of Black and Afro-Caribbean people in a fun and lively way while still emphasizing the seriousness and importance of this often overlooked aspect of British life. I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture. I really appreciate you helping make the class so special and look forward to arranging another.

William Force, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western New England University

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:31:05+01:00

William Force, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western New England University

Thank you for organizing a wonderful walking tour for my students. You are incredibly knowledgeable, and it was such a joy to hear your take on things. The students loved this field trip. You did an excellent job relating the history, culture, and social contributions of Black and Afro-Caribbean people in a fun and lively way while still emphasizing the seriousness and importance of this often overlooked aspect of British life. I could not have asked for a better supplement to my Sociology course on race, identity, and culture. I really appreciate you helping make the class so special and look forward to arranging another.

Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions.

What an amazing tour! It completely moved me to rethink the intricate web of social, economic and political relations that characterize British imperial rule and racial politics. Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions. The best way to get to know London.

Alai Reyes-Santos, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T13:32:29+01:00

Alai Reyes-Santos, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

What an amazing tour! It completely moved me to rethink the intricate web of social, economic and political relations that characterize British imperial rule and racial politics. Engaging, moving, will keep you asking more questions. The best way to get to know London.

Nothing but positive feedback

The audience and the panellists had some incredibly positive feedback about your presentation. It went down so well and was an brilliant combination of information, revelation and humour. There were also a number of attendees whose firms or companies had organised a Black History Walk with yourself and also had nothing but positive feedback

Sharon Takhar, Origin Network, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Black History Walks
5
2020-08-19T16:34:16+01:00

Sharon Takhar, Origin Network, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

The audience and the panellists had some incredibly positive feedback about your presentation. It went down so well and was an brilliant combination of information, revelation and humour. There were also a number of attendees whose firms or companies had organised a Black History Walk with yourself and also had nothing but positive feedback

It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all

A brisk, informative stroll through the heart of the British Empire. Our cheerful and intellectually generous tour guide, led us through narrow alleyways and past Roman ruins, within halls constructed by powerful guilds; in the process, he revealed to us both the many layers of British history and the often unacknowledged cultural multiplicity at its core. The tour was exciting, informative and allowed everyone across age, interest, and temperament to participate and learn. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all.

Professor Caroline Brown, University of Montreal, Canada

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T11:38:44+01:00

Professor Caroline Brown, University of Montreal, Canada

A brisk, informative stroll through the heart of the British Empire. Our cheerful and intellectually generous tour guide, led us through narrow alleyways and past Roman ruins, within halls constructed by powerful guilds; in the process, he revealed to us both the many layers of British history and the often unacknowledged cultural multiplicity at its core. The tour was exciting, informative and allowed everyone across age, interest, and temperament to participate and learn. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend it for all.

A truly inspiring day

A truly inspiring day, filled with information I may have NEVER been aware of, if it was not for attending this walk. The friendly intellectually amazing tour guide relayed facts that I would have had to research for months to be aware of. I would URGE any and everyone, of all ages to attend - a great, fun, educational day out.

Isschara Maxine, London

Black History Walks
5
2020-07-15T11:44:18+01:00

Isschara Maxine, London

A truly inspiring day, filled with information I may have NEVER been aware of, if it was not for attending this walk. The friendly intellectually amazing tour guide relayed facts that I would have had to research for months to be aware of. I would URGE any and everyone, of all ages to attend - a great, fun, educational day out.
5
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Black History Walks
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