NIGHT section March 27: Black Religion

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



Scholarship info: The Puerto Rican Day Parade scholarship due date is April 2; Dominican Day Parade scholarship due date is April 2; The St. George’s Society scholarship (for students with a background from British Commonwealth) is usually due in the spring; contact Lehman’s scholarship office (linked) to apply.

Lehman’s Pre-Graduate Advising Office offers workshops on the graduate school application process and has drop-in hours each week via Zoom. This semester’s workshops focus on personal statements, interviewing, and the various standardized exams. All are highly recommended–especially if you haven’t thought about it. Details at their site

Course Announcements:

Please BRING BOOKS OR PDF COPIES OF READINGS WITH YOU TO CLASS. We’re going to do some in-class exercises that you’ll need the book for.

DO THIS for next week

Monday March 27:

FINISH section 4.12 (from chapter 4) on the 1960s. (We’re skipping sections beyond that.)

READ the following sections of Chapter 5 (Black Religion) in Introduction to Black Studies

  • Read pages 189-206
  • Focus on the sections on:
    • The Dogon Tradition (FOCUS on the Intro and theological insights sections; SKIM the section on the creation narrative)
    • Maat (pronounced “mah-aht”)
  • From section 5.3 (Christian Tradition) READ the following:
    • pages 214-220
  • From section 5.4 (Islamic Tradition) READ the following:
    • pages 228-230 (Introduction)
    • pages 232-237 (Nation of Islam and Social Ethical Teachings of Malcolm X)
  • This is a total of approximately 30 pages of reading
  • As usual check the study terms and reading questions at the end of the chapter

DO your Knowledge Inventory discussed in the previous class as part of the prep for the midterm on Monday April 4

Quick highlights from March 21 class:

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-168). Skipped last section on 1970s-2000s
  • See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Part 1 of midterm review/ study strategies, the Knowledge Inventory–on the Lecture Notes page
  • Music: Sarah Webster Fabio: “Together (to the Tune of Coltrane’s Equinox)”–on YouTube here
  • Resource/for further reading: 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.

What to read for/understand:

Religion (or “ways of knowing”) is one of the foundational parts of people’s ideology, socialization, and culture, and that makes it a central part of their worldview. Read to understand central points of Ma’at from Kemet, and the Dogon tradition from early sections of the chapter, and the more recent connections in the US of the Christian tradition, Black Liberation Theology, and Islam via the Nation of Islam. Try to understand how their understanding of religion shapes the approach of both Malcolm X and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to tackling the situation that Black people in the US face.

General reading strategies:

  • Underline/highlight key points in the text
  • Use the reading questions at the back of chapters to focus you: read those first
  • Try to understand the definitions of the key concepts listed at the back of the chapter
  • Make a note to ask the instructor to clarify anything you don’t understand
  • Note key issues, approaches, and dilemmas/challenges Dr. Karenga outlines

Discussion questions

  • See chapter/essay highlights above

What’s Next?

Midterm on Tuesday April 4 then Chapter 6 of Introduction to Black Studies after spring break

Midterm outline and format

Covers: textbook chapters 2-4

Format: in-class ONLY on Tuesday April 4

  • short answers and one essay question

To prepare for it, do the following:

READ the weekly updates on the course website! They point you to the specific sections of book chapters to focus on
Read the slide presentations on the Lecture Notes page
Read the sections of the book the notes are pulled from! The slides only give you an outline; you need the full discussion from the book for this to make sense!

In short, you have to spend some time and read/process/ understand the info!