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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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78 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


Apr 27, 2020

This course was wonderful! I learned so much and was able to learn more in-depth o stories and events that I knew of. Dr. LaFayette is a treasure and I look forward to hopefully meeting him one day.


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.

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1 - 25 of 77 Reviews for From Freedom Rides to Ferguson: Narratives of Nonviolence in the American Civil Rights Movement

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 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 Nikki M R

Jun 23, 2020

I have recommended this course to anyone who has ears around me. I feel everyone should take this course for the mere fact that none of this information will not be found in our text books. As an African American woman I have learned soooo much that I am actually going to take the course a second time because it was that intruging.

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 Emma J

Apr 27, 2020

This course was wonderful! I learned so much and was able to learn more in-depth o stories and events that I knew of. Dr. LaFayette is a treasure and I look forward to hopefully meeting him one day.

By kenyaSue S

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.

By Fanny G

Jan 09, 2017

The subject seems so interesting but we need more historical information. It's nice to have a personal point of view but it is difficult to follow the process then.

By Jayne E L

Aug 01, 2020

One of the definitions of the word EXPERIENCE is: The accumulation of knowledge or skill that results from direct participation in events and activities. This is what Rev Lafayette shares with us, as he recalls his experiences from his lifetime as a pivotal participant in the civil rights movement. This national treasure takes us through the birth of civil rights to today, leaving us with explicit guidance on how to implement nonviolent protest, and how to live a life that is loving, understanding, and most importantly fair to all. I could listen to him tell stories of his experiences all day, and never tire. Soak up every word and etch it into your heart! The sacrifices Dr Lafayette and the movement made (and are still making today) are incalculable. They experienced them, so we didn’t have to. We owe our gratitude and respect to these men and women. What an exceptional human being God has blessed this nation with. It was a privilege to take this class, and I hope he considers doing more. We still have a lot more to learn. God bless you, Dr Lafayette! I have a short bucket list, but I’m putting shaking his hand one day on mine.

By christine a

Jul 14, 2020

Brilliant presentation by Dr Bernard La Fayette, what a life story, and so much understanding of non violent approach to conflict, spread through the globe. The only thing I wish is that Dr La Fayette had the opportunity to say Good bye at the end of the course, which similar to Dr Anderson's course on Black History and Policitics, finishes abruptly? Why is this, most unprofessional in the very least for Coursera to present online courses, with knowledgeable, excellent presenters, and yet come to a sudden halt. Without any finishing phrases from the individual who has worked so hard to get their matter across. In the Urban Education and History of America, there is a Good bye, why not others?

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 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 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 Linda D C

Mar 30, 2017

I am 68 years old and remember this era quite vividly. It is very enlightening to hear these events described by those in the thick of things. It gives me better understanding of their thought process, their issues, and the complexity of the issues. This is all applicable today as we see a resurgence in bigotry and violence against those who are different. It is something we must all fight against at all times.

By Christine Z

Sep 28, 2020

This course is impressive and everyone who wants to do social change should take this course. I learned so many valuable lessons. It is so amazing to learn from the experience of the CRM. To understand where the success came from is so valuable. I never thought of linking the success of the CRM to so many strategies, rules, and values. Thank you to Dr. LaFayette & Emory Course Production Staff

By Renata P

Nov 09, 2016

Como o objetivo do curso é associar o movimento dos direitos civis nos anos 1960 com acontecimentos atuais, o dr Bernard LaFayette não só ensina a história e mostra como ela é relevante na sociedade atual, mas também nos motiva a utilizar a filosofia de não-violência no dia a dia, nos incentiva a pensar sobre nossas ações e em como podemos fazer uma diferença. Curso incrível e bem organizado.

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 LaVinia G H

Aug 31, 2020

THE BEST course AND Instructor ever!...and I have completed a Master's degree and JD programs. I thought I knew everything about Civil Rights that I needed to know. Was I ever wrong about that assumption. Dr. Lafayette can also give lessons on teaching to most teachers and professors. His method of teaching is a lesson in itself. Thank you!

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 Priscilla A W

Sep 07, 2020



Priscilla A. Wallace-Boerger, EdD

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 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 Carole A

Feb 21, 2016

It was a pleasure to listen to Dr Lafayette explain not only what happened during the Civil Rights movement but also the background, the outcome and the philosophy of the people involved.

This class has outstanding content and is a great source of reflections on our individual actions.

By Darren G

Jan 23, 2016

A brilliant introduction to the principles of non-violence, the philosophy of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and the lives of those who were the founders of the movement including Dr. Marin Luther King. I've so many new heroes having completed this course. Cheers.

By Jeff T

Jul 07, 2020

Interesting and informative history of the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement provided by a veteran Civil Rights leader. Also, very practical examples of how nonviolence can be applied to a variety of situations including civil rights movement, education, business and personal lives.

By Kenyatta D B

Apr 21, 2020

I really enjoyed this course and learning about the Nonviolence movement from Dr. Lafayette. I will definitely use some of these principles in my daily life. I am writing a book that takes place during the Civil Rights movement and this course will definitely help frame the story.