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HUM 134: Images of Black Americans - Gray

Images of Black Americans

Tricia Hersey Melyssa Ford 

Tricia Hersey                                     Melyssa Ford


Cornel West                                              50 Cent                                                    Betye Saar

This guide is designed to help you locate research materials for your final project. If you have any trouble finding or accessing resources, please contact librarian Julia Greider at


Images of Black Americans: Final Project Description

The “Images of Black Americans” course attempts to demonstrate how America’s cultural, social, economic and political realities are inextricably woven into how Blackness and Whiteness are defined. As a result, representation of African Americans in the cultural marketplace matters as it is weighted by America’s history in slavery and ongoing valuing of white supremacy. Therefore, viewing images of African Americans elicits a politics of identity whereby the historical narratives framing the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality are alive even in the present moment. For example, as many students have pointed out, one cannot view images of Cardi B without considering how they rearticulate the Jezebel stereotype that justified the rape and sexual exploitation of Black female slaves by primarily white men fueling the slave labor economy through their offspring.

The final project allows students to demonstrate how one of the cultural artifacts explored during the course ushers in historical narratives rooted to the experience of slavery to either reinforce or challenge racial stereotypes. The final project will be delivered as a PowerPoint presentation. Students must choose one stereotype associated with one cultural artifact that your project will address (although a cultural artifact may embody and/or challenge multiple stereotypes, this project will only explore how it addresses one stereotype).