Margie Lawson

Changing your Writing World

The Psychology of Black Characters - modern version

Toward the end of the twentieth century, the modern Civil Rights era was launched and as Sam Cooke sang, “A Change Gone Come.” The change came and the psychology of Black people in the United States underwent a sea change. As we will see in this class in the first week, there were several reasons for this shift in thinking, but the shift impacted the world view of Black people living in the United States. For the purposes of this course, the contemporary era begins in the 1960’s because prior to this point in United States history pride in oneself was an internal aspect of one’s Black self.

Now, in this new era, pride in oneself becomes external as well. The shift was marked in culture, movies, music and literature. For instance, James Brown had major success with the song, “Sing it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” in 1968. Sidney Poitier won an Oscar. Aretha Franklin was a major musical figure and Langston Hughes, considered the bard of Black America became a cultural touchstone. This subject is a huge one to cover in just four weeks but after this short time period, you will learn some aspects of the psychology of what it is to be Black in the United States, and you will leave the class with resources to continue your study beyond this rudimentary course.

Having taught at HBCU schools for most of my academic career, I’ve structured this course as a sampling of what is usually taught to students over two semesters. The development of the internal mindset for more than 30 million people is far from cohesive, and varies, but this class can be viewed as a starting point.

What you will learn in the course:

  • The Mask you can never take off—What Blackness means
  • Black Childhood—Once you turn 10, it’s over
  • Black Male Adulthood—The Game face of masculinity
  • Black Female Adulthood—Intersectionality as reality

Who should take this course:

  • Authors who are curious about Black psychology
  • Authors who are BEGINNING to think about writing Black characters
  • Anyone who is curious about Blackness as an entity in the United States

Note: Course cover art "Enlightenment: ASU" - Copyright 2012 Synthia SAINT JAMES.  To see more of Synthia's art visit: https://www.AtelierSynthiaSAINTJAMES.com.

Teacher

Piper Huguley

Piper G Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, has won Best Historical in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son. Her biographical historical novel about Ann Lowe, the Black fashion designer who created Jacki Kennedy’s wedding gown, will be released from William Morrow in Winter 2022.

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