The History of Black People and Race Relations, 1550- 1861

History 125A

Spring 2016
Day & Time: 
TuTh 330-500

This course is a survey of African-American history from its beginnings through emancipation. Classes and coursework will examine African origins of black Americans, the history of the middle passage, the development of plantation slavery, and the many historical changes that shaped African-American life and culture thereafter—from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Topics will include the impact of the Haitian and American Revolutions on African-American life; the abolition of slavery in the post-Revolutionary North, the development of a free black community there; the expansion of slavery in the South, antebellum enslaved people's culture, and their resistance to enslavement. Some readings will explore the African American body under slavery. Other topics that will be covered include the use of enslaved African Americans in early medical research and experimentation, enslaved women’s reproduction, the role of enslaved people in the healing and medical treatment of others within the community, and enslaved African Americans love and intimacy. The readings will be attentive to the ways that gender shaped the experiences of slavery and freedom for African Americans and we will also read about the experiences of enslaved children. You should leave the class with a broader understanding of the experiences of African Americans prior to 1865. 

PLEASE NOTE: You only need to purchase VOLUME ONE of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents (ISBN-10: 0312648839 ISBN-13: 978-0312648831)The textbook can also be rented or purchased via at: and Barnes and at:

A copy of the textbook will also be placed on reserve in Moffitt Library. 

Course Books

Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents, Vol. 1: To 1885 by White, Deborah, Bay, Mia, Martin, Waldo Bedford/St. Martins. ISBN: 978-0312648831 Required