American Mosaic 2001
Migration, Work, and Family
Steelton, Pennsylvania

Professors Rogers (History), Rose (Sociology) and Seldon (American Studies and English)

The site for Dickinson College’s Community Collaboration for the 2001 American Mosaic is Steelton, Pennsylvania, a multi-ethnic mill town that lies along the Susquehanna River on the southside of Harrisburg. Currently, Steelton has close to 6,000 residents with some 33 self-identified ethnic and racial groups. As the first steel mill town dedicated exclusively to the making of steel, Baldwin – later named Steelton – was established in 1866. It drew a diverse workforce from Europe and a significant black population from the South. Many workers were recruited through a process of chain migration by family members and Army buddies. This coming year, we will focus on work, family, and migration narratives, exploring the similarities and differences among people who call Steelton home, with a particular focus on the Great Migration and the African-American Community.
The American Mosaic is a four credit semester program that integrates three course plus an independent study or internship. Fieldwork is an integral part of the semester. The focus for Mosaic 2001 is on Work, Family, and Migration Narratives with a particular concentrating on the African-American Community in Steelton, PA. Professors Rogers (History), Rose (Sociology), and Seldon (American Studies and English) will be co-directing the Mosaic.
While the teaching will be interactive and cross-disciplinary, Rogers will take the primary responsibility for a course on African-American Lives, History, and Social Change. It will be taught as a unit Weeks 2-5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4pm. For the rest of the semester, we will concentrate on doing oral histories, and Rogers and Rose will run a number of methodology workshops to prepare students as they begin to interview people. (One credit will in either American Studies, History, or Sociology)

Seldon will offer Literary Landmarks: the Creation of Real and Imagined Communities, in which we will be introduced to the imaginative writings of African Americans. On issues ranging from family, work, education, to migration and religion, we will examine how literary texts serve as historic landmarks. Additionally, we will explore how literary texts are meaningful in the construction of interpretive communities. Through oral history interviewing, we will apply a reader-response methodology and explore which texts have been particularly meaningful in our own lives and the lives of Steelton residents and workers. (One credit in either American Studies or English)

Rose will take the primary responsibility for teaching Community Studies: Work, Family, Religion and Schooling. As an introduction to Community Studies and Ethnography, we will read a number of classic ethnographies, including such works as: Middletown, Tally=s Corner, The Corner, All Our Kin, Worlds Apart, and theoretical and methodological works such as C.Wright Mills, the Sociological Imagination and Michael Agar’s Professional Stranger. From the start, students will begin to familiarize themselves with the community of Steelton, visit church services and cemeteries; attend bingo parties, spaghetti dinners, and tambura dances; help tutor in the after-school programs at the elementary school or boys and girls club, and dig into the archives of Dauphin County. Various members of the Steelton Community will take us on walking tours, introduce us to workings of the mill and union, tempt us by the various ethnic restaurants, bakeries, and sausage factories in town (Mexican, Croatian, Polish). We will take a comparative approach, and compare and contrast the experience of steelworkers with those who worked in the cigar faculty with those who were domestic servants. We will explore how race, ethnicity, class, and gender affect people’s experiences – their life choices and chances – at work, in school, in marriage. For example, we will examine what kind of work you were likely to do if you were Irish, German, Black, or Croatian in the mill and how those jobs differed not only with regards to pay and promotion but also safety and health conditions. In the second half of the semester, Rose and Rogers will focus on the methodology of oral history. (One credit in either Sociology, American Studies, History, or Anthropology).

In addition, students will do a one-credit independent study or internship course. Depending on the focus on the project or internship, and in consultation with the Mosaic team and student’s advisor, the credit may be earned in American Studies, Sociology, History, English, or Anthropology).
Throughout the semester, we will meet every Monday and Wednesday morning from 11-12:15; Mondays from 1:15-2:30; and Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:30. In the beginning of the semester, weeks 2-5, we will also meet from 1-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for AAfrican-American Lives,@ and Wednesdays we will use for fieldtrips – these may either be half-day or all-day trips. In the case of 2 of the field trips, we may not be back until 5pm. Fridays are open days for your own excursions, fieldwork, interviews, reading, transcription, etc…. Once the semester is underway and fieldwork begins, we will use Mondays 1:15–2:30 as the group meeting time to discuss what is going on and plan for the coming week.

Occasionally, we will ask you to attend church services on Sundays or evening activities. Once intensive fieldwork begins, much of the class time will be freed up for interviewing and archival research, internships, etc.. You will be able to rearrange your schedule according to when you can set up interviews… Some of these are likely to be on Sundays or late afternoons or evenings, depending on who you are interviewing. If you plan to tutor in the after-school programs, you will want to be available from 3-5pm at least two-three afternoons a week.

Class Times

For scheduling work and other activities, please note these regular class times for the first 6 weeks of class, and the revised schedule for the rest of the semester.

Weeks 1-5
Mondays: 11-12:15 (Literary Landmarks); 1:15-2:30 (large & small group meetings as needed)
Tuesdays: 9:30-11:30 (Community Studies) ; 1-4 (African American Lives, History…)
Wednesdays: 11-12:15 (Literary Landmarks) plus fieldtrips so plan to keep Wednesdays free.
Thursdays: 9:30-11:30 (Community Studies); 1-4 (African American Lives, History…)
*Sundays Feb. 4 (9-2)

Weeks 6-14
Mondays: 11-12:15 (Literary Landmarks); 1:15-2:30 (Group meeting)
Tuesdays: 9:30-11:30 Rogers and Rose – oral history workshops)
Wednesdays: 11-12:15 Literary Landmarks & Rest Open for Fieldwork
Thursdays: 9:30-11:30 Rogers, Rose, & Seldon

Preliminary Schedule

Week 1 – 1/24
1/24 W 11-12:15 Literary Landmarks,  1-3pm Orientation & Introductions, I Am From: Steelton Video
Bring 2 photos of yourself/family/community

1/25 Th 9:30-10:45 “Up-South” & Web resources D211, 1-2:30 Inheritances: Voices and Silences, Reader-Response Exercise – Student Interviews
Read: Rich, “Split at the Root” Moraga, “La Guera”
Due: Autobiography (2-3 pages – how race, class, and gender have influenced you??) read/discuss Tompkins
Start reading: Bodnar, Steelton for next week

Week 2 – 1/29
M: 11-12:15 Literary Landmarks
W: 11-12:15 Putting It all into (Con)text: Turn of the Century Black Voices
Read/discuss White, Anderson, and Dixon

Tu & Th 1-4 American Slavery and Freedom
The Origins of American Slavery
The Slave Trade and the growth of staple-crop production (tobacco, indigo, rice, cotton)
The Creation of an African-American Culture & Religion
The American Revolution and the Civil War: Possibilities of Liberty?
Reconstruction and Athe Nadir: 1877-1930: Lynching as Social Control
Stuckey, Ch 13, Toward A History of Blacks in North America, 239- 264. Ch 1, Through the Prism of Folklore: The Black Ethos in Slavery, 3-18
Takaki, Chapters 2, 3, 5, & 6
Litwack, Chapter 6
Fulop & Raboteau chapter on The Creation of an African-American Culture, by Levine
Films: Family Across the Sea, The Irish in America

1/30 Tu Community Studies
Oral Histories from Steelton – Workshop (Smart classroom or CSC?)
A) Some of what we know
B) E-Reserves:: Read one of the transcripts on electronic reserves or in the CSC archives: Clayton & Charles Carelock
B) Take clear notes, highlighting important, interesting data and post
C) Read through one or two more transcripts.
What more we want to know….?
D) Pick one of the transcripts and indicate 2-3 things (dates, events, processes, figures…) that you would want to follow up on and learn more about.
E) Does Bodnar have anything useful to reveal here re: the community context in relation to the individual narratives you’ve been reading?

1/31 W Town Tour of Steelton
Begin your fieldnote journal with your impressions and a one-page thick description of the Steelton

2/1 Th Sociological Imagination
Discussion of Oral History Transcripts
Read: C. Wright Mills
Middletown – Select one area (work, family, schooling… and be ready to report on what the Lynds found and the methods they used)
Discussion of Transcript Postings – Life Course Contexts
One Page Thick Description: Steelton

2/4 Su Church Service in Steelton (9-2)
Meet with Barbara Barksdale, Clayton Carelock,
Cemetery Tour (depending on weather)
Assignment for next Tuesday: Write a 2-3 page thick description of the church service you attended.

Week 3 – 2/5
2/5 M & W Read/discuss selections from Conjure Tales and The Sport of the Gods
A2/6 Tu Reading and Writing Religion
Bring two copies of your thick descriptions of the church service you attended to class.
Handout: Studying Religion
Middletown, intro and Ch on Religion

2/8 Th We Shall Overcome Video Doc
Go Tell It??? when are we showing it?
Read in Fulop and Raboteau: Long, Perspectives for a Study of African-American Religion 21.
Raboteau, Black Experience in American Evangelicalism 89.
Gravely, The Rise of African American Churches in America 135
E-Reserves: Millhands and Preachers

Tu & Th 1-4 African American Movements: 1880-1945 Topics: Hard Times in the South: Poverty, Sharecropping, White Violence
Migration North and the Nationalization of Black Culture
World War I and the Red Summer of 1919
The Harlem Renaissance & Black Popular Culture
Organizing for Protest: the NAACP, Urban League, Garveyism, and Communism
World War II and the renewed promise of Democracy; the contradictory lessons of military service
Litwack, Chapter 3
Takaki, CH 13, 14
Griffin, Entire book
Kelley, Chapter 1, 2, 6
Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues
The Good Fight, (Spanish Civil War clips)
The Great Depression, Mean Things Happening in the Land

Week 4
2/12 M &W Read/discuss Ida B. Wells and Fox-Genovese essay

2/13 Tu Diaspora and Community Building
Africanisms in America: Change and Continuity
Making Music and Doing Ethnography
The Language We Cry In Video Doc
Read: in Fulop and Raboteau:
Levine, Slave Songs and Slave Consciousness 57.
??Kelley We are Not What We Seem: Pleasures and Politics of Community

2/15 Th Using Race and Ethnicity in Labor Relations – Multi-Ethnic Coal Mining Towns
Even the Heavens Weep Video Doc
Methods: Documenting History through artifacts, oral histories, music, and video
Read: in Kelley xi-34 Shiftless of the World Unite

Tu & Th The Cold War, McCarthyism, and the emergence of a Southern Civil Rights
Movement, 1946-1960
The Cold War & McCarthyism: A New National Security Mandate
The Brown Decision, and Southern Reaction
The Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Desegregation of Central High School
The Emmett Till Lynching
Black communities in the North: Baldwin’s Cities of Destruction and the Nation of Islam
Dittmer, Ch 1-5
Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Entire book)
Transcripts: Bob Love, Jack Harper, Juanita Scott
Seeing Red (segment)
Eyes on the Prize, Beginnings: 1950s, Emmett Till lynching, Montgomery Bus Boycott,

Week 5
2/19 M & W Read Hurston, Ellington, selected Chapters from the Signifying Monkey and the George Essay

2/20 Tu& Th The Southern Student and Community Movements, 1960-1968
The Movement in the South, 1960-1968
The War on Poverty and Rebellions in the north
Change and Resistance
African Americans, White kids and Vietnam
1968: The Dream Explodes
Stuckey, Going Through the Storm: The Great Singing Movements of the 1960s
Dittmer, Ch. 6, 10, 11-12
Film: Freedom on My Mind,
Eyes on the Prize, 1967-1968
Transcripts: Delta and Steelton: Reading, Distilling, Performing
Paper DUE: Analysis and comparison of transcripts and voices: African American lives, work, & politics, South and North

2/20 Tu Company Towns
Prof. Torres, National University of Patagonia AEthnic and Labor Relations in Company Towns: A Comparative Perspective@
Read: Prof. Torres Dissertation is on reserve in CSC archives
Transcripts – references to Company Towns

2/21We Bethlehem Tour

2/22 Th Steelton,
Read: Bodnar
Bell, Out of This Furnace

Week 6 (Kim’s class is over and our oral history workshops begin here too)
2/27 M & W Go Tell It On the Mountain or the Fire Next Time (?), 1-2 Group Meeting

Tu Struggles in Steel – Chuck Barone – lecture
Transcripts – African-American Steelworker OH from Steelton
Kelley?Zinn? Something good on labor history

Th Struggles in Steel: African-American Steelworkers Video Doc

Starting Week 6-7 Shift to Rogers and Rose – Doing Oral History and Ethnography
Yow, Recording Oral History
Agar, Professional Stranger
Thompson, Voices Excerpts
Middletown, Ch On Making a Living and Raising a Family
Proposals Due + Oral History Interview Schedules – Week 7
Begin Oral History Interviews

Week 7
LL:Invisible Man
CS: Rivethead
Roger and Me
OH: Workshops
Project Proposals + Interview Schedules + Preliminary Bib Due

Week 8=> See individual Syllabi for Literary Landmarks: Native Son and Notes of a Native Son
Oral History Workshops
Guidelines for Independent Studies

Week 10 Expanded Proposals Due
Week 13 Final Projects – 1st Drafts Due
5/11 Final Projects Due by Noon