This course is an exploration of how writers and artists respond to events and experiences. Focusing on Black American cultural producers since the 1940s, we will interrogate race relations in the United States and the art that emerge out of these tensions and struggles for legal and social liberation. The course will specifically examine how protest is manifested in response to such issues as racial segregation, housing discrimination, and police brutality. We will use key moments from the Civil Rights Movement up to recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri as guides, especially in order to extrapolate how undergraduate students are using critical writing in such local campaigns as #BBUM (Being Black at the University of Michigan). Operating at the core of this course is the objective of studying the critical value of using writing and art as persuasion. Course materials will include writings by Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as music by Nina Simone and Tupac Shakur among others.