"> American Mosaic 2001 -->-->

      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 Susquehana 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

AI Am From@

ASteelton 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

Topics: 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, AToward A History of Blacks in North America,@ 239- 264.

            Ch 1, AThrough 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: AFamily Across the Sea,@

                                    AThe 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 Adata@ 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?


W 1/31                        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: ASteelton@


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


2/6 Tu              AReading@and AWriting@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              AWe Shall Overcome@ Video Doc

Go Tell It??? when are we showing it?

Read in Fulop and Raboteau:

                                      Long, APerspectives for a Study of African-American Religion@21-

  Raboteau, ABlack Experience in American Evangelicalism@ 89-

  Gravely, AThe 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

                       Films: AWild Women Don=t Get the Blues,@

                             AThe Good Fight,@ (Spanish Civil WarBclips)

                  AThe Great Depression,@BAMean 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 

AThe Language We Cry In@Video Doc

Read: in Fulop and Raboteau:

Levine,ASlave Songs and Slave Consciousness@ 57-                            

??KelleyAWe 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 AShiftless of the World Unite@


Tu & Th           The Cold War, McCarthyism, and the emergence of a Southern Civil Rights

                         Movement, 1946-1960          

Topics: 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 ACities 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

                                    Films:ASeeing Red@(segment)

AEyes 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

            Topics: 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, AGoing Through the Storm: The Great Singing Movements of the 1960s@

                       Dittmer, Ch. 6, 10, 11-12

                       Film: AFreedom on My Mind,@

                                AEyes on the Prize,@B1967-1968

                       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 VI


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

Read: Transcripts - African-American Steelworker OH from Steelton


Kelley?Zinn? Something good on labor history


Th                    AStruggles 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