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Back to From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement

Learner Reviews & Feedback for From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement by Emory University

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50 reviews

About the Course

The Modern Civil Rights Movement is a significant landmark in United States history. This movement was a struggle for human rights directly challenging the nation to extend its democratic principles to African Americans and all peoples. This course sheds light on the often overlooked strategic planning that supported the direction of the events and is told by a voice intimately involved in the organization of movement—Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr. Topics include the history of the campaigns, the different coalitions and groups, philosophy and methods of nonviolent direct action, and the contemporary application of nonviolent conflict transformation. The course hosts several guest speakers, including Andrew Young, Reverend C.T. Vivian, Henry "Hank" Thomas, and Constance Curry. Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to: ● Discuss the contributions and involvement of civil rights activists and leaders in the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) campaigns in the United States. ● Examine the chronology and phases of the Movement and CRM campaigns. ● Recognize and characterize the diverse activist groups involved in the CRM. ● Discuss Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence from a historical perspective. ● List and define the principles and strategies of nonviolence. ● Examine organizational and social change applications related to nonviolence. ● Identify the role of nonviolence in modern activism along with additional resources to broaden knowledge of principles of nonviolence. ● Recognize the application of nonviolence theories to activism, current issues, and everyday life....

Top reviews


Sep 28, 2019

I have learnt so much and will be applying this to the change action empowerment in the UK. I appreciate this opportunity to learn at my own pace and appreciate the work undertaken in the past.


Apr 25, 2018

Among the very best courses led by the participants in the struggle for civil rights. Helped me to gain a better understanding of what has been gained (and lost) in our nation's story.

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1 - 25 of 49 Reviews for From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement

By Sara M

Mar 06, 2019

This class was so well presented and I have recommended it to everyone willing to listen. The experiences, strategy and history shared are inspiring for those that want to better understand our past, but also for those that want to change our future. If you're thinking of taking this course, do not hesitate, sign up now!

By Abu M I U

Mar 13, 2019

Thanks Bernie!

By Aloke N P

Dec 28, 2018

a must do course for every global citizen. Its not just exploring an idea but its also about exploring you as a human being and your capabilities.

By Blaise L

Sep 07, 2018

Fascinating. I recommend this course for anyone who wants an in-depth understanding of the role of non-violence in the success of the Civil Rights movement, and its relevance to the world of race relations today.

By Carmen

Nov 05, 2017

Very enlightening about non-violence and how the civil rights movement worked.

By Nancy J C

May 28, 2016

Absolutely brilliant course. Each lesson is thoroughly enjoyable thanks to the charisma and passion of Bernard Lafayette, as well as eye-opening and educational in an astoundingly refreshing way. This course doesn't just teach a concept, it motivates you to do something with the information and guides students towards an important method in attaining social change. The history and ongoing philosophy and campaign are nothing short of inspirational.

By Ola S

Feb 01, 2016

Overall an excellent course that involved a lot of great material on the nonviolent efforts of the Civil Rights Movement. I thought I knew a lot about the Civil Rights Movement but this course proved differently. My only suggestion for improvement is to add a segment that focuses on the contributions of women. Although there was some discussion of women's contributions, most of the material and all of the teachers, professors, speakers were male.

By Rachel B

Mar 17, 2017

Amazing course. Thank you for sharing!

By Shirley P

Jan 01, 2016

This was a great refresher course for me having lived during the Civil Rights Movement but in the northern part of the United States. Dr. Lafayette did a wonderful job in his stories and descriptions to make the Movement struggles and successes real. He and others also shared interesting insider tidbits on those active in the movement. Great class! Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow in knowledge of those who fought hard so that each of us in this country can eat lunch or ride a bus however we need to in our every day lives.

By Alzbeta S

Jun 22, 2016

One of the best courses I took on Coursera. Very informative and practical.

By Karl S G

Jun 26, 2018

An excellent course, providing an inside view of the Civil Rights movement, bringing History to life, as well as providing a lot of interesting thoughts and guidelines for how to tackle some of today's big social and political conflicts. A big thanks to Dr Lafayette and all other contributors.

By Alexandra S

Dec 31, 2016

Fantastic class.

By Emily H

Jun 10, 2017

This was a wonderful course that I would suggest to anyone at all. It's so important to know the story and the struggles and bravery of those who non violently fought for equality and did not settle for life as it was for them by uniting with others who were like minding and focusing also on those common goals and not differences that may have been among them. Also learning about the organizing that took place and the elders of the movement leading the way and realizing the importance of education and leading those younger who wanted to participate etc... As an individual, a community, nation, and world there is so much to learn from this course.

By Joni L

Feb 05, 2016

I'm learning so much, and it's a wonderful format. We're going to need to know these principles of Nonviolence if we're to deal effectively with the regenerative changes needed. I'm so glad i heard about this course!

By Ignasi I

Dec 04, 2016

Exceptional information and lessons to better understand what was the struggle for Civil Rights. The teachings of Dr. LaFayette invite to take the brief experience as a case study, worthy of being analyzed and considered when comparing it to other social movements.


Dec 06, 2015

Nice review of a very difficult time in our history which was favored by some courageous folks who worked and endured a lot to effect a better society.

By Karin H

Feb 03, 2016

This class was excellent. I loved hearing what had to be said and the viewpoints I was given. It was like I was actually there walking among the people. I felt myself protesting and fighting against racism. It was interesting to hear about all the different players in the movement and what they did.

By Danielle C

Mar 18, 2018

Thank you for refreshing the history of a time when I witnessed so much change. I really enjoyed it.

Danielle Rawls Carr- Atlanta, Georgia

By Alex R

Dec 29, 2015

Very interesting course - Thank you very much

By Lisa S

Jul 09, 2017

Absolutely fascinating course - a privilege to have insights from one of the major lights of the civil rights movement

By Eleanor M C

Jul 27, 2017

Simply excellent. Truly an education on history and planning for the future - future generations, that is. This teaching is phenomenal insight that should be shared in every high school and college that seeks societal understanding and growth and desires a turning away from past atrocities and human division. Thank you for sharing!

By Felipe T

Jan 27, 2017

This is a marvelous and very inspiring course. Thank you so much!

By Seongkyul P

Feb 17, 2017

I loved being able to hear directly from the leaders of the civil rights movement. The course videos were short enough that I got through the course in two Saturday afternoons. The stories interwove historical events and insights, practical strategies for mobilizing, and inspiring/moving confessions of light in even the darkest times.

Some of my favorite parts included learning about the following:

-Jails were used as active classrooms for university students! They even shared info on college access with a jail ward. Crazy.

-The civil rights leaders honored all people's dignity and believed in their mission beyond what seemed to be in front of their eyes. Who would have thought that the jailed students would sing to jail staff by name, that they'd build a relationship with them, that they'd sing songs of such conviction to uplift their spirits and to warn the system to "be prepared" for the many more who'd soon join their movement.

-Andrew Young's confession about what his wife told him after they read about Dr. Lafayette, essentially "drop everything, we gotta go back home NOW." Their sacrifice and courage, even when they had everything set up for them in the North, are incredible to witness.

-The cross-continental influences! I ddin't know Jim Lawson was a divinity school student, who ended up learning non-violence in India where he lived 3 years as a missionary. The intersection of faith, social justice, calling, cross-cultural sharing/empowering were themes I found unable to shake from my mind days after I finished this course.

-The civil rights movement was fiercely organized and executed. It didn't happen accidently over night, or by fury or whim of young folks alone. Even the young - so many of the leaders were so young!!! - had a very clear strategy to winning against structural racism, and even their sacrifices "dares" so to speak were planned and not foolish. They knew what dangers or threats there may be, but it was always with a clear goal and purpose that they put themselves in the act of civil disobedience.

I will be spending my upcoming months going through the readings, books, and independent research to learn more about the civil rights movements and its leaders. I was not taught any of this in detail in highschool, which I feel that it should!!! This course is timely, and much needed, as it's been disparaging to try to remain engaged and active under Trumplandia. Thank you to those who lived this history. Thank you SO MUCH for translating your experiences into another digestible course, so that less informed folks like me can encounter (albeit late) your bravery, intelligence, and accomplishments which should never be forgotten.

By Luz-Elena C

Apr 05, 2017

A beutiful course- From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement.

This is a historical event that keeps updating itself every day. History as it is happening! And we are so very lucky to have the very protagonists of these historical events here, teaching this course at Coursera. People from everywhere in the world can now learn about this.

By Diane N

Dec 02, 2015

Every body black white green or polka dot should take this course, learn to come together non violently thank you all for the lessons I learned