Monday 21 July 2014

AMER 20141: From Jamestown to James Brown

Suggested reading for AMER 20141: From Jamestown to James Brown:


Set texts for this module:

  • William R. Scott and William G. Shade, Upon These Shores: Themes in the African-American Experience, 1600 to the Present (Routledge, 2000).

·         Richard Wright, Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth (various editions – but be sure to get the longer version which includes Wright’s experiences in Chicago)


You are also encouraged to explore the African American Experience provides a full and extensive narrative of African American History and is helpfully divided into chronological eras, with assorted relevant resources. You are strongly advised to read the site on a weekly basis: it contains a wealth of information including primary and secondary sources, reference sources, bibliographies, cultural documents, and images that will help you make sense of the very complicated history of black people in North America. The African American Experience can be found on two sites, which should be accessed from the JRULM database page at

African American Experience (this site is divided into chronological sections or “Eras,” with useful essays by scholars on key themes and people, primary sources, biographical information, images, and much, much more). Students who regularly consult this site in the past have found it not only certain to improve their grades, but have universally reported how much they have enjoyed using the varied materials. At the top of any page in the database, simply click on “Eras” and then the relevant chronological period, or theme within that period. 
username: manchesteruniv 
password: library


ABC Clio e-book collection (contains a large collection of titles about African-American history and culture, including encyclopaedias and other bibliographical guides to further reading) 
username: manchesteruniv 
password: library


You might also look at Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice, a fantastic source containing a wealth of primary sources from archives in North America. Given that we have only just added this resource, you will be the first students to explore its materials. You should connect to this from the library database page:

Select UK Access Management Federation on the login page, which should take you to university login where you input your user name and password.


Suggested Preparatory Reading:


Andrews, William. L. et. al. The Oxford Companion to African-American Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). Very useful entries and brief essays on African American Literary history and culture.

Bell, Bernard, The African American Novel and Its Traditions (Amherst, 1987)

Berlin, Ira, Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves

            (Cambridge, Mass., 2003).

Berlin, Ira.  “American Slavery in History and Memory and the Search for Social Justice,”

            Journal of American History 90 (March 2004), pp.1251-1268.

Brown, David & Clive Webb, Race in the American South: From Slavery to Civil Rights

                        (Edinburgh, 2007).

Cook, Robert, Sweet Land of Liberty? The African American Struggle for Civil Rights in

            the Twentieth Century (Longman, 1998).

Dickson, Bruce D., Jr., The Origins of African American literature, 1680-1865

            (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2001).

Ervian, Arnett,  The Handbook of African American Literature (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004). A-Z of 415 literary terms, ages, movements & cultural sources & 8 full length essays.

Fairclough, Adam,  Better Day Coming: Blacks and Equality, 1890-2000 (London,


Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (New York: Norton, 2004). Superb anthology of African American literature.

Graham, Maryemma, The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Useful essays on themes: passing, the Protest novel, the Blues novel. Includes chapters on Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and others.

Hamilton, Marybeth “The Blues, the Folk, and African-American History,” Transactions

            of the Royal Historical Society, 6th Ser., Vol. 11. (2001), pp. 17-35.

Jackson, Lawrence P. Jackson, The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of

            African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960 (Princeton and Oxford:

            Princeton University Press, 2010).

Jarrett, Gene. A Companion to African American Literature (Chichester: Wiley-

            Blackwell, 2010). A series of essays that explore the forms, themes,

            genres, historical contexts, major authors, and latest critical

            approaches, this book presents a comprehensive chronological

            overview of African American literature from the 18th century to

            the modern day.

Johnson, Walter, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge,

            Mass, 1999).

Kelley, Robin, ‘“We Are Not What We Seem”: Rethinking Black Working-Class

            Opposition in the Jim Crow South’, Journal of American History 80 (June 1993),


Kolchin, Peter, American Slavery, 1619-1877 (London, 1993).

Litwack, Leon F., Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow (New

            York, 1998).

Quinn, Eithne, Nuthin’ but a ‘g’-thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap

            (Columbia University Press, 2005).




Tuck, Stephen, We Ain’t What We Ought To Be: The Black Freedom Struggle From

            Emancipation to Obama (Harvard/Belnkap, 2009).

Ward, Brian. Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness and

            Race Relations (London: UCL Press,  1998).




Sam Jones  English Literature, American Studies and Creative Writing Programmes Administrator| 

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