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Race in America, Past and Present: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Burden of History

Resources to support the Race in America, Past and Present reading group Fall 2016.

Session 1: The Historical Creation of Race

In this session participants will explore the historical development of racial categories and its role in shaping American politics and society. Where did the idea of “race” come from, how did it gain so much traction, how has it changed over time, and why and how did it become such a powerful way that Americans think about their world? How have racial identities and categorizations interacted with socioeconomic exploitation in the American past, and how does this continue to shape society?

Through the reading, video, and discussion, participants will be able to:

  • Explain race as a historical and social construct;
  • Articulate relationships between race and class in American history;
  • Evaluate the relevance of the history of “race” in their own lives.

Discussion materials

Additional resources