African American History: Beginnings to 1864

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 114

       Course Name: African American History: Beginnings to 1864

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines role of African Americans in U.S. History, from enslavement in Africa to emancipation. Content includes black African culture, black diaspora, slave culture, Americanization of slaves and Africanization of the South, “free” blacks, slave resistance movements, and politics and economics of slavery.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the achievements of African Americans in political, cultural, and social terms
  2. Compare representative works of literature and philosophy produced within this period
  3. Critique the values expressed in the philosophical and literary texts of this period, and discuss the current relevance of these values
  4. Explain the social, economic, and cultural diversity of African Americans and the origins of social, economic, and cultural conflict
  5. Apply conflicting interpretations of African American history
  6. Analyze primary and secondary sources of the African American past

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Pre-Colonial Africa
  2. African Institutions and Cultures
  3. The Black Diaspora
  4. Slavery in the Anglo-American Colonies
  5. The Americanization of the slave and the Africanization of the South
  6. Freedom Deferred: The American Revolutionary War and the U.S. Constitution
  7. The Peculiar Institution
  8. Slave Culture
  9. The "Free Black"
  10. Resistance Movements: Slave Revolts and Abolitionism
  11. The Politics and Economics of Slavery
  12. The Civil War and Emancipation

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies. 

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 13-5 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The most current editions of the following texts are being used:

Bennett, Lerrone, Jr., Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America
Blassingame, John, The Slave Community in the Ante-Bellum South
Franklin, John Hope and Alfred A. Moss From Slavery to Freedom
Stuckey, Sterling, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available at the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX: Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX: Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX: Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.