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University of Maryland, College Park

Women and the Civil Rights Movement

University of Maryland, College Park via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


This course examines the U.S. civil rights movement from the vantage point of women, considering both women’s involvement in the legal campaigns and political protests and the impact of civil rights struggles on women’s status and identity.  Taking a “long civil rights movement” perspective, we begin in the late nineteenth century and consider events, organizations, and personalities through the twentieth century.

Throughout we will consider issues which have preoccupied historians, social movement theorists, and historians alike:  developing and sustaining political commitment, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of various forms of political organization, maximizing influence and securing long-range objectives.  We will also examine competing definitions of leadership; class, race, and gender dynamics within the movement; and the cultural dynamics of political organizing and social change. 

In the process, we consider not only how the movement altered the status of African Americans in the U.S. but the legacy of these struggles as they changed understandings of citizenship and rights more broadly.   Our concern throughout the course will be to not only understand the historical narrative but also to see how historians work to make sense of the past.

Taught by

Dr. Elsa Barkley Brown


4.7 rating, based on 3 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Women and the Civil Rights Movement

  • Maureen Fastenau
    Excellent, informative, well-researched, revelatory, eye-opening. Covers from 18th century to present. Once again, shows women's contributions--usually overlooked in most histories. Women played key and pivotal roles! Please run this course again!
  • Bob
    Wonderfully presented class. Instructor knows her material, not easy to swallow all the truths out there, but definitely worth the effort. We all should know more about this. Is a very good course, I am glad I took it. Thank you Prof Brown!
  • Francine Luter
    I took this class and it was informational, inspiring and humbling. If presented with the opportunity to take it again I will.

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