Students in field

Dr. Dekker gives insight into upcoming “Organizing with Dr. King” open classroom seminar

March 10, 2021

As part of the Spring 2021 Campus Read Anti-Racist Open Classroom Series, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Carolyn Dekker will be opening up her African American Literature class to the public. The topic of Dr. Dekker’s class will focus on “Organizing with Dr. King“. Students have been reading excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, Why We Can’t Wait. They looked at “Bull Connor’s Birmingham,” “A New Day in Birmingham,” and the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

“The format of this public-facing class will be a little different than other open classroom days in this series, since the literature class is a seminar,” said Dr. Dekker. “There was no lecture to invite our community to. But these are texts we have discussed for a week during our classroom sessions, and what you’ll be treated to is a combination of my students presenting their takeaways from these discussions, plus my own reflections on how we approached these texts.”

Dr. Dekker has been offering African American Literature since the 2017 Spring Semester. She said it typically averages a dozen enrolled students, making it one of her most popular upper-level English courses.

“I think an African American literature course is essential to help our majors fill out a picture of American literature and to create a space on campus where all students can gather to celebrate the brilliance of Black writers,” said Dr. Dekker.

Dr. Dekker said students have been reading more contemporary readings on the race movements happening around the country.

“The students were eager to make connections between this artifact of King’s Birmingham Summer and the current organizing landscape, so this session may definitely close by reflecting upon what we can learn from King’s writings about successful activism,” said Dr. Dekker.

Dr. Dekker’s open classroom session will be Tuesday March 16 at 11a.m. The event is free and open to the public, although registration is required. Register here for the Zoom link, which will be emailed to you the day before the event.

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