One History & Literature seminar will be held on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio in 2021. Room and board are available, as is airport shuttle service between the Ashland University campus and the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Participants may take the seminar for in-service hours or opt to earn graduate credit.

The Civil Rights Movement in American History and Literature

Sunday, June 27, 2021 to Friday, July 2, 2021

Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio

When James Baldwin declared that “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” he captured a central truth about the Civil Rights Movement, a crusade that is often evoked as if it were a coherent and unified era rather than a complex and multifaceted undertaking. In this seminar, we will critically examine the fascinating historical documents and literary texts that both shaped and reflected the Civil Rights Movement. On the history “side,” we will focus on issues such as the long arc of the freedom struggle, the indispensable role of ordinary heroes–women and men overlooked by traditional narrative histories–and the fraught but fascinating relationship between nonviolent strategies and Black Power. On the literary “side” we will consider how polemicists and protest writers contributed to the struggle directly; how poets and playwrights found beauty amidst the pain of racial inequality; and why contemporary writers have returned to the Civil Rights era as a resonant source of creative inspiration. Writers may include James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ernest Gaines, and others. Through our shared readings of key historical and literary texts, we will examine the complicated and often contradictory urges, goals, and experiences that inform the Civil Rights Movement.


David F. Krugler (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) and Kathleen Pfeiffer (Oakland University)

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Regrettably, the previously announced “Violence in American History and Literature” seminar has been cancelled for 2021. We hope to be able to offer that topic in 2022.


Audit (25 contact hours): $605

Graduate Credit (2 semester hours): $1210

Room & Board

$475 per course

Accommodations are available in Ashland University residence halls. Includes all meals from dinner on Sunday through lunch on Friday. Shuttle service between the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the AU campus is also included.

Register Now | Contact Us