This course examined narratives of racial terrorism in African American literature and journalism from around 1880 to 1920. We focused on writings that address the problem of “race”—how ideologies of white supremacy threatened Black citizenship—and the rampant racial violence that targeted African Americans especially in the Deep South as meticulously covered in the pages of Black publications (as compared to coverage in white publications). With emphasis on the life and legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, we studied her anti-lynching campaign as promoted in her series of publications: Southern Horrors (1892), A Red Record (1895) and Mob Rule in New Orleans (1900). Other writers of poetry and fiction were also assigned, and students conducted archival research in newspaper databases to understand better the spectacle of public lynchings in America during the early days of Jim Crow segregation.
For the final project, groups of students created “The Digital Red Record” from archival investigations of lynchings in Mississippi based on their studies during the semester. Each group project presents a cultural narrative of racial terrorism in the state by concentrating on the following:
- Location (county, set of counties or region in the state, for example: Delta, Pine Belt, Gulf Coast)
- Literary Voices (excerpts and analysis of literary texts)
- Journalistic Perspectives (reports about lynching in the press)
- Photographs (images from archival sources)
Groups used Issuu as the creative media platform to design and publish the digital reports as a flipbook. Layouts with graphics, images, and text were created using PowerPoint formats and files uploaded to Issuu. The digital reports were presented at the end of the semester in class and in the “Sophomore Showcase” for the Honors College, at which students received “The Most Intellectual” distinction by their peers, faculty, and staff of the Honors College.
Heather Broome, Simeon Gates, and Sarah Hinchey
Shai Haynes, Phoebe Stutts, and Ashley Lewis
Leah Messemer, Lawson Bridges, and Trinady Moore