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The Comparative Black Liberation in South Africa and Mississippi examined two of the most internationally significant black liberation movements of the 20th century: the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa from the 1950s through the 1990s, and the African-American civil rights movement of the 1950s-1980s.

Dickinson College Professors Jeremy Ball, Kim Lacy Rogers, and Amy Wlodarski designed and implemented the program with funding from the Community Studies Center (CSC).  Based on the CSC “Mosaic” template, this program incorporated cross-cultural and transnational inquiry with field research into an integrated curriculum.  This Mosaic’s curriculum consisted of four courses: South African History, History of the Civil Rights Movement, Comparative Oral Histories, and Ethnomusicology of Liberation Movements, taught by Professors Ball, Rogers, Ball and Rogers, and Wlodarski, respectively.

The program involved field research in South Africa and Coahoma County, Mississippi, which eight Dickinson students conducted during the summer and fall of 2008. The program allowed participants to study how African and African-American people in small communities responded to and eventually defeated white supremacy in two of its most infamous manifestations: apartheid South Africa and Jim Crow Mississippi.

Comparative Black Liberation considers the economic and political legacies of the civil rights and anti-apartheid movements and the music that was so vital to both, as well as  how the movements interacted with one another and how people remember and memorialize them today. It also analyzes the intersections between the global and the local, the international and domestic, the past and the present, in relation to race and ethnic relations, social movements and counter-movements, and the parallels and discontinuities within transformative liberation movements in the U.S. and South Africa.

This site is dedicated to the late Phumza Williams, dedicated colleague,  community activist, and friend.


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