The South in Black and White


Through the lens of documentary traditions in the American South, this course will engage in a call and response between black and white cultures in a region where democracy has been envisioned and embattled with global consequences. The course will cover history and culture as documented in spirituals, gospel, blues, and rock and roll; civil rights photography; southern literature; and historical and autobiographical writing. Readings will include work by historians such as W.E.B. Du Bois, C. Vann Woodward, John Hope Franklin, as well as the literary achievements of Richard Wright, Zora Neal Hurston, and Ernest Gaines along with white counterparts William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Lillian Smith, among others. Classes will include lectures, music, poetry, film clips, discussion, and visitors. See a promotional video for the class here. (38 hours)

Timothy B. Tyson
, author of Blood Done Sign My Name and other award-winning books, is a senior research scholar at CDS and Visiting Professor of American Christianity and Southern Culture in the Divinity School at Duke. Blood Done Sign My Name, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Christopher Award and the North Caroliniana Book Award, was the 2005 selection of the Carolina Summer Reading Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, assigned to all new undergraduate students. Tyson’s previous book, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power (UNC Press, 1999) won the James Rawley Prize and was co-winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, both from the Organization of American Historians. He also co-edited, with David S. Cecelski, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy (UNC Press, 1998), which won the 1999 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. Tyson was a John Hope Franklin Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2004–05. He is a North Carolina native and a graduate of Duke (M.A. ’91, Ph.D. ’94). 

Mary Williams is a performer and scholar of African American musical traditions and has performed all over the United States as well as in Paris. Williams has co-instructed "The South in Black and White" and taught other community-based courses for more than seven years. Working in feature films and documentary theater, she is a frequent collaborator with fellow CDS instructors Tim Tyson and Mike Wiley. She is currently working on a Mahalia Jackson stage play.

Michael Betts is a student in the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke University (’20) and a graduate assistant working on the DocX lab’s experimental site, CDS Shortwave.

Additional Information:
This 15-week hybrid course follows the Duke academic calendar and will combine continuing education students with Duke undergraduates. Continuing education students are required to complete all assigned coursework.

Continuing education students are required to take the final exam, the date is December 11, from 7:00 to 10:00pm. 

There will no class on Tuesday October 8. 



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