Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Passionate and Political Sixties: Protest and Reform in Postwar America, 1954 to 1973

Instructor:John Godwin

A montage of images from the 1960s

This course will trace the history of America in the 1960s, applying interdisciplinary methods to the Sixties experience through fiction, film, personal memoirs and biographies, in addition to interpretive studies and specialized monographs of the period. The course will focus on grass roots movements for reform, the response of the American people, and its impact on domestic politics. It will include some assessments of America's attempt to play a leadership role in world affairs through the Cold War, focusing in particular on the Vietnam War. How did the American people respond to the idealistic call for social change and to the stresses of the age? How did the summons to leadership in the defense of freedom affect Americans? How did presidential politics form a part of this larger picture? Popular movements, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the movements among students and women, the movement to stop the war in Vietnam, the movement for liberation in sexuality, and for environmental reform will be central to the course. What happened to the "golden vision" of the 1960s as the decade drew to a close? And what legacies both positive and negative can be ascribed to the era? What important books survive to form what may be regarded as part of the Sixties legacy in intellectual terms? These are some of the questions the course will attempt to address.

The course will be taught in a seminar format with student discussion of readings and research. Course requirements will include type-written papers on special topics related to reading. The final paper will be a research paper from selected supplementary course materials on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor.

Course Reading List

Optional Course Text:

Douglas T. Miller, On Our Own: Americans in the Sixties, (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1996). This book is recommended for students who would like to follow a textbook through the course-- but otherwise the book is not required. Copies will be available in the UNCW Book Store.

Required Books:

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Vintage International, 1963). ISBN: 0-679-74472-X.

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, All You Need Is Love The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s, (Cambridge, Mass. 2000, Harvard University Press). ISBN 0-674-00380-2.

Robert Dallek, Lyndon B. Johnson Portrait of a President (London: Oxford University Press, 2005), ISBN13: 978-0-19-515921-9

Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (N.Y. & London: Penguin Books, 2002) 0-14-200342-5.

Michael Harrington, The Other America: Poverty in the United States (Simon & Schuster, 1962). ISBN: 0-684-82678-X.

John Lewis (with Michael D'Orso), Walking with the Wind, A Memoir of the Movement, A Harvest Book (San Diego, NY,: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1998. ISBN 0-15-600708-8.

Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History (Penguin Books, 1968). ISBN 0-452-27279-3.

Edward P. Morgan, The Sixties Experience: Hard Lessons About Modern America, (with foreword by Howard Zinn) (Philadelphia, Pa.: Temple University Press, 1992) ISBN 1-56639-014-1.

Amy Swerdlow, Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993) Paper ISBN: 978-0-226-78636-0 (ISBN-10: 0-226-78636-6) Fall 1993.

Required Articles:

David L. Anderson, "Introduction-What Really Happened?" and Eckhardt, Ridenhour, & Thompson, "Experiencing the Darkness: An Oral History," from Facing My Lai: Moving Beyond the Massacre (Lawrence, KA.: U of Kansas, 1998), pp.1-7; 27-51. DS557.8 .M92 F33

Dan T. Carter, "Legacy of Rage: George Wallace and the Transformation of American Politics," Journal of Southern History, 62 (1996): 3-26.

Robert M. Collins, "The Economic Crisis of 1968 and the Waning of the 'American Century'" American Historical Review, 101 (1996): 397-422.

Jane de Hart-Mathews, "The New Feminism and the Dynamics of Social Change," from Women's America, Refocusing the Past 2nd Ed. (NY.: Oxford University Press, 1987): pp. 437-466. HQ1426 .W663

"Roundtable: Brown vs. Board of Education, Fifty Years After" Journal of American History 91(June 2004): 19-68, articles by Carson, Duziak, Fairclough, and Kurashige.

David Garrow: "King: The March, The Man, The Dream," American History, Aug. 2003, 26-35.

Mitchell K. Hall, "The Vietnam War Era Antiwar Movement," OAH Magazine of History, October 2004, 13-17.

George C. Herring, "The Cold War and Vietnam," OAH Magazine of History, October 2004: 18-21.

Andrew J. Huebner, "Rethinking American Press Coverage of the Vietnam War: 1965-68," Journalism History, 31: 3, (Fall 2005): 150-161.

Lawrence J. McAndrews, "The Politics of Principle: Richard Nixon and School Desegregation," Journal of Negro History, 83, 3 (Summer 1998): 187-200.

Regina M. Morantz, "The Scientist as Sex Crusader: Alfred C. Kinsey and American Culture American Quarterly, 29,5 (Winter 1977): 563-589.

Richard G. Powers, "The FBI Marches on the Dreamer," American History, August 2003, 42-47.

Adam Rome, "Give Earth a Chance": The Environmental Movement in the Sixties Journal of American History 90(Sept. 2003): 525-554.

Other Suggested Sources:


Joan C. Browning, "Trends in Feminism and Historiography, Invisible Revolutionaries: White Women in Civil Rights Historiography," Journal of Women's History 8 (1996/97): 186-201.

Jane Dailey, "Sex, Segregation, and the Sacred After Brown," Journal of American History, June 2004: 119-144.

Gary Dorrien, "Michael Harrington: Socialist to the End,", available at

Charles W. Eagles, "Toward New Histories of the Civil Rights Era," Journal of Southern History, 66 (2000): 815-848.

Joshua Freeman, "Hardhats: Construction Workers, Manliness, and the 1970 Pro-War Demonstrations," Journal of Social History 26 (1992/93): 725-739.

Dean Hammer & Adelaide Maudsley, "The Politics of Courage: Kennedy's Profiles as Political Thought," Journal of American Culture, 65-69

George Lipsizt, "Who'll Stop the Rain: Youth Culture, Rock'in Roll, and Social Crisis," from David Farber, The Sixties: From Memory to History (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1994), available at

Regina M. Morantz, The Scientist as Sex Crusader: Alfred C. Kinsey and American Culture, American Quarterly, 29, 5 (Winter 1977): 563-589

Gary Orfield, "Public Opinion and School Desegregation," Teachers College Record, Vol. 96, No. 4, (Summer 1995): 654-670.

Melvin Small, "The Election of 1968" Diplomatic History, Vol. 28, No. 4 (2004): 513-528.

Randall B. Woods, "Dixie's Dove: J. William Fulbright, the Vietnam War, and the American South," Journal of Southern History 60 (1994): 533-552.

Biographical Studies:

Hugh Pearson, The Shadow of the Panther, Huey Newton and the Price of Black Power in America (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1994).

Bruce Perry, MALCOLM: The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America (Barrytown, N.Y.: Station Hill Press, 1991).

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson. New York: Warner Books, 1998.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Apostle of Militant Nonviolence, by James A. Colaiaco St. Martin's Press, (1988).

Martin Luther King, Jr. by Adam Fairclough, (University of Georgia Press, Athens, Ga., 1995).

Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (N.Y.: Viking, 2000)

E856 .S86

Fictional Works:

James Baldwin, Another Country, (Vintage International, 1962)

Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July, (Simon & Schuster, 1976)

William Lederer and Eugene Burdick, The Ugly American, (WW. Norton, 1958).

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, (Harper Collins Publishers, 1960).

Other Books of Interest from the 1960s:

Rachael Carson, The Silent Spring, (Houghton Mifflin, 1962)

John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, (HarperCollins, 1955, 2004)

John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me, (Sepia Publishing Co., 1960).

Charles Reich, The Greening of America (Random House, 1971, 1997))

Suggested Monographs, Documentaries and Other Studies:

David Allyn, Make Love, Not War:The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History, (N.Y. Routledge Press, 2001).

David L. Anderson, ed., Facing My Lai: Moving Beyond the Massacre (Lawrence, KA.: University of Kansas Press, 1998) DS557.8 .M92 F33

Jack Bass and Walter DeVries, The Transformation of Southern Politics: Social Change and Political Consequence Since 1945 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995). F 216.2 .B39

The Eyes on the Prize: Civil Rights Reader: Documents, Speeches, and Firsthand Accounts from the Black Freedom Struggle, 1954-1990 by (eds.) Clayborne Carson, David J. Garrow, Gerald Gill, Vincent Harding, Darlene Clark Hine Penguin Books, USA 1991).

William Chafe & Harvard Sitkoff, eds. A History of Our Time: Readings in Postwar America 5th ed., (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1999) E742 .H57

Mary L. Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Ronald P. Formisano, Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s, With a New Epilogue by the Author (Chapel Hill, London, UNC Press, 2004).

David Garrow, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.: From Solo to Memphis, (N.Y.: Norton, 1981). E185.97 .K5 G3

Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (NY.: Bantam, 1987). E 841 .G57

John L. Godwin, Black Wilmington and the North Carolina Way, Portrait of a Community in the Era of Civil Rights Protest, (Lanham, MD.: U of America Press, 2000).

Lewis L. Gould, 1968: The Election that Changed America, American Ways Series (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1993).

George C. Herring, America's Longest War: the U.S. and Vietnam, 1950-1975 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986). DS 558 .H45

Linda Kerber & Jane de Hart-Mathews, Women's America: Refocusing the Past, 2nd ed., (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1987). HQ1426 .W663

John Prados, The Hidden History of the Vietnam War, (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1998).

Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams, The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, The Sixties, and Beyond N.Y.: Grove Press, 1985, 1992.

Suggested Films:

The course will also attempt to study the 1960s through film. Student is encouraged to watch at least two of the films during the semester. The viewing room in Randall Library is fully equipped for students, and listed films should be made available in the reserve room.

All the President's Men, Warner Bros, Robert Redford-Alan J. Pakula, 1998. PN1995.9 .D7 A4485.

Berkeley in the Sixties, Kitchell Films, N.Y. First Run Features, 1990. LD760.B474

Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads- 1965-1966, 8 videocassettes (60 min. ea.). Boston, Blackside, Inc., distributed by PBS Video, 1990.

In Remembrance of Martin, Idhanha Films, Producer, Lori Kearns and Dave Marquis, director, Kell Kearns, PBS Video, 1998. E185.97 K5 I5

King, Montgomery to Memphis, Landau, Ely, 1 videocassette (103 min.). Beverly Hills, Pacific Arts Video, 1988.

The War at Home, Produced and directed by Glenn Silber, Barry A. Brown, N.Y. First Run Features, 1979. DS559.62. U6 W37

Born on the Fourth of July, An Oliver Stone Picture, Universal Studios, Inc., MCA Home Video, 2004. PN1995.9 W3 B676

Some Internet Sources:

Greensboro Sit-ins, Documents & Links

Kennedy Assassination, National Archives

Berkeley Free Speech Movement

The Psychadelic Sixties

The Sixties Project

Martin Luther King, Jr.:

The King Center

MLK Papers, Stanford University

The Vietnam War:

My Lai Massacre:

Dr. John L. Godwin is author of Black Wilmington and the North Carolina Way: Portrait of a Community in the Era of Civil Rights Protest, (Lanham, MD. University of America Press, 2000). He is also editor and publisher of Carolina Civic Voice, a Wilmington news and issues alternative magazine available at

Last Update: February 10, 2008