Reading Response Prompts

WEEK 3

Due January 31st (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 3 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

How does the story of Abraham Galloway push us to rethink the lives of free and enslaved African Americans in the Civil War? Moreover, how could Abraham Galloway have been forgotten, given the scope of his contributions?

WEEK 4

Due February 7 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 4 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

The Wilmington Race Riot was the culmination of a carefully orchestrated campaign that employed violence and later morphed into an ideological war that persisted late into the twentieth century. How did newspapers of the period characterize the event? What do you make of the many stories regarding the rape of white women? In the case of political cartoons, can you decode the imagery and explain the sentiments to which they appealed? And finally, what is the legacy of Charles Aycock?

WEEK 5

Due February 14 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 5 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

All of the readings this week underline the role of violence in creating and sustaining the new Jim Crow social order.  Payne, however, advances a number of reasons for the weakening of white violence in that role in the years leading up to the Mississippi freedom movement.  What reasons does Payne put forward for the relative weakening of violence in those years?

Due February 21 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 6 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

Using specific examples from the novel, discuss (in a few sentences) how “Their Eyes Were Watching God” illuminates or challenges us to think in new ways about the blues, gospel, and jazz impulses we engaged with earlier this semester.

WEEK 7

Due February 28 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 7 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

Citing examples from this week’s readings, explain in a paragraph how World War II and the ensuing Cold War affected race relations in the America. In other words, how did the United States’ engagement in conflicts abroad shape the Civil Rights struggle at home?

WEEK 8

Due March 7 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 8 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

How does Danielle McGuire’s story of Montgomery differ from or converge with the story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott that you knew before? What does that say about the connection between gender and memory of the Black Freedom Struggle?

WEEK 9

MIDTERM ASSIGNMENT
FORMATTING: 14pt font, double spaced, stapled
DUE: 7:00 on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Please save your midterm in electronic form just in case something happens to the hard copy.

OPTION #1

WORD LIMIT: 1200-1500

Please write an essay on the role of racial violence in the South beginning from Reconstruction and through to the civil rights era (about 1955 or so).  Focus on various kinds of racial violence, citing examples, and go further by including alternate forms of social control beyond violence.

OPTION #2:

WORD LIMIT: 1200-2000

“An Imaginary Book Proposal for Phyllis Dooney, editor, Random House Publishing, Inc.”

Imagine that you are a scholar at the Center for the Study of the American South and Afro-American Studies and your research has uncovered a compelling story. For these purposes “the story” can be from the reading that we have done so far or you can make one up.  Pitch the story to editor Dooney while sketching out the larger themes of the history around it.

You may or may not know the entirety of the story yet––feel free to “find” additional information in the archives of your imagination or to pull from actuality. Use the course reading to date for inspiration or raw material. Layout the story and explain its meaning and importance to your prospective editor. With this story, you hope to produce a landmark book in Southern U. S. and African American history, and it begins with this proposal (which is how professional writers, filmmakers and other humanities types obtain large sums of other people’s money to fund their work!). This will not only let you show us how much you have absorbed and thought about this semester but will also help you develop an invaluable skill.

Your proposals should be for a book that reflects––and may even deepen––the themes and insights of David S. Cecelski’s Fires of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War, Charles Payne’s I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: the Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle and Danielle McGuire’s At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance: A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power and any other works that you find helpful and interesting. Include themes found in those works. After all, your goal is to one day write a book that will appeal to readers who bought those books, liked them, and found them useful to their understanding of the history, politics and culture of the color line in the U.S. South.

Your proposal’s goals are to (1) recruit the reader to the book; and (2) show how this story from the small town and rural South reveals the most important historical themes, forces, and events in the history, politics and culture of the color line in the South; and (3) describe a book that will fit on the shelf nicely alongside the aforementioned works.

Asking the right questions of the material is important. Read carefully and then ask yourself: what larger themes, forces, and other events may be relevant? Why did these events occur? What is the larger historical context in which they occur and that they may illuminate? How should the larger context for these local events be drawn so that this is not just exciting local trivia? In short, what is this book about?

Your book proposal is essentially a letter to editor Dooney; not a personal letter but instead a letter-like essay that gives her a taste of your book and a clear explanation of its content, usefulness and importance. It should be engaging, informative, creative and analytical. It should sketch the events briefly but only with an eye to framing them in the light of all that you have learned this semester. Everything is fair game: songs, lectures, books, articles, poems.

Your “proposal” will be evaluated in terms of its intellectual creativity, historical insight and analytical grasp, as well as the extent to which it demonstrates mastery of the materials, beyond facts, for this course.

NOTE:  For reference, we have attached three sample proposals. Two are imaginary and incomplete. One of them is my book proposal for Blood Done Sign My Name (which we will read later in the course).

See you after the break.
Thanks,

Tim Tyson, Mary Williams, and Phyllis Dooney

WEEK 11 + 12

Due March 28 or April 4 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 11 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

Citing examples from the text, explain what you see as the most important thematic connections in the 3 different texts that were assigned this week.

WEEK 13

Due April 11 – no Reading Response Prompt

WEEK 14

Due April 18 (please put your name, date and school on the card and hand to Phyllis before class begins).

After you have read the assignment for week 14 on the syllabus, respond on a 4×6 notecard to the following prompt in approximately 250 words:

In one paragraph, discuss how Blood Done Sign My Name confronts the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Use specific examples from the text.

WEEK 15

Due April 25 – no Reading Response Prompt

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