Civil War to Civil Rights: The African-American experience


What was so different about slavery in America? Why did segregation persist so long after slavery was outlawed? Who were the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement in America, and what were their struggles? Over four weeks, this course focuses on the evolution and significance of the Civil Rights Movement in America to answer these and other questions.

Target audience:
This course is for anyone interested in history, particularly American history and the Civil Rights Movement.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • learned how slavery evolved as an institution in America
  • gained an understanding of the need for fighting a war to eradicate slavery
  • learned how the war did not solve many of the problems associated with slavery and its omnipresence
  • gained an appreciation of the courage and accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement’s guiding lights.

Course outline:
Each two-hour session includes engaging multimedia and spoken presentations with time for questions and discussion.

Week 1: Slavery in America: An institution 200 years in the making
Week 2: A free country for some: Independence, expansion and the unavoidable conflict
Week 3: The long shadow of Jim Crow: The century after the Civil War
Week 4: ‘We Shall Overcome’: The Civil Rights Movement in America

A short break is held halfway through each session, and you are welcome to bring refreshments if you wish.

David White grew up in a multi-racial town in the United States, living through the Civil Rights Movement. He has degrees in journalism and history from the University of Kansas, with a specialty in both US and English history. A longtime editor, he has worked at newspapers and book publishers. His book editing credits include a survey of world history. He has written two history books, one on Ferdinand Magellan and one on the history of the US presidential election. He has previously presented short courses on King Arthur: Swords and sorcery, truth and legend and Robin Hood: Legendary outlaw for Victoria Continuing Education.

Relevant links:
School of History, Philosophy, Political Studies and International Relations

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140
Phone 04 463 6556, Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date to arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.