Week of October 17: Black Religion

Image: Ethel Shariff in Chicago, 1963. By Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

For Wednesday 10/17, we’ll go to chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-220 and the section on the Nation of Islam/Malcolm X (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on: The Dogon Tradition, Maat, Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Also read pages 329-364 in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for an African World Revolution, “Image and Mind Control in the African World.” Read this first to gain a conceptual understanding for Karenga’s approach above

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images
  • What role does Clarke suggest religion should play?

Please Bring both books (or copies) with you to class next week. We’ll be doing some in-class work that you’ll need to look at the book to follow–and do productively.

Quick highlights from 10/10 class:

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-165).
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Malcolm X: the Genesis of His African Revolution” (pp. 139-159) in Notes for an African World Revolution. See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Handed out assignment for the midterm essay: see below
  • Musical transition: Blues legend Muddy Waters’s “Mannish Boy, on YouTube here. (Koko Taylor’s “I’m a Woman” response is on Youtube here.) Waters’s song is symbolic of the struggle in Civil Rights-Black Power era: an escalating fight for full human rights under the law, here framed as a demand to be called/treated as a man.
  • Resource/for further reading: mentioned in class is Peniel E. Joseph’s Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour a narrative history of the Black Power movement. In the CUNY library system here, the NYPL here, and you can buy it used online starting at about $5.


  • The Midterm essay is due in two weeks on Wednesday 10/24. Get the assignment sheet on the assignments page if you don’t have/have lost it and start working on it, especially if you need to visit the ACE Center for writing assistance. Plan to visit them now.