Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Offer Online Course on Empowerment

Author and television talk-show host Tavis Smiley has teamed up with Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion at Princeton University, to launch a new online course entitled, “Covenant Curriculum: A Study of Black Democratic Action.”

The self-guided course is designed to take 15 weeks to complete. It is designed as a course on the history of American democracy in the context of the struggle for equality by black Americans from slavery through Jim Crow to the present day. Professor West explains the purpose of the project as follows: “What we need is an examination of ourselves, our history and our present that raises the question, ‘What does it take for us to wake up?’ It’s time for everyday people to wake up and take power in the face of elite abusive power.”

There are standard and advanced levels of the course with different reading assignments. Works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Toni Morrison, Michael Eric Dyson, Ida B. Wells, Mark Twain, and many others are on the reading list.

A companion guidebook to the course is also available. It includes essays by 10 scholars on issues such as health, education, and criminal justice.

Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.