The question of how to resist, survive and challenge retaliatory violence directed against African American communities has always been central to the history of African descendents in the U.S. The extent to which the active role of women has been central to this history has been rarely acknowledged. This course will explore the struggles of African American women to defend the integrity of their own bodies; these struggles include the fight against everyday insults embedded in the daily indignities of Jim Crow; the efforts of enslaved women to protect themselves and their children, as well as collective organizing against rape and sexual harassment in the early and mid-twentieth century. One example we will explore is the story of Margaret Garner, the real life, nineteenth century heroine whose story was the inspiration for Toni Morrison's Beloved. We will also explore recent scholarship that centers the fight to protect the integrity of black women's bodies and reshapes how we understanding African American social movements. Course materials will include biographies, fiction, interviews and social movement studies.