Research Essay: Students are required to complete a research essay (in CMS format) of 7-9
pages of text (meaning that the cover page/heading and References page, which must also be
included, do not count as text) on an assigned topic of your choosing. The essay must reflect
your original thinking, and must also include at least seven valid sources.
Valid sources are journal articles, book chapters, books, and interviews. Book reviews,
encyclopedia entries (including Gale Group and Facts on File), and short entries are not
acceptable sources. You must also include a primary source. You will lose credit for not having
Research Essay Draft: To better assist you with writing and research, you are required to
complete a first draft. The first draft, which will be approximately 3 pages, must contain a solid
introduction, a well-defined thesis, and the beginning of a solid analysis of the topic.
Research Essay Cluster Topics, Assignment Options, and Draft Due Dates
Cluster 1: “After the ‘13th’: Black Incarceration from Jim Crow to the Present” (4/6)
• Essay topic: Explore African American incarceration in post-slavery U.S. Your essay
should analyze the parallels between incarceration and slavery.
Cluster 2: “The Activism of Ella Baker” (4/17)
• Essay topic option 1: Explore the activism of Ella Baker.(This is my chosen topic)
• Essay topic option 2: Explore the activism of Ella Baker and 1 of the following activists:
Septima Clark or Rosa Parks.
Cluster 3: “The FBI and the ‘War’ on the Civil Rights Movement” (4/20)
• Essay topic: Analyze the FBI and its attempts at squelching the Civil Rights Movement or
movements for black liberation. What role did J. Edgar Hoover play in these attempts?
How did the FBI respond to the Movement and violent white supremacist backlash to it?
Cluster 4: “The Activism of Dorothy Height” (4/23)
• Essay topic option 1: Explore the activism of Dorothy Height.
• Essay topic option 2: Explore the activism of Dorothy Height and Mary McLeod Bethune.
Cluster 5: “Black Women Activists in Mississippi” (4/27)
• Explore the contribution of 2 Mississippi activists to the Civil Rights Movement. Be sure
to foreground their Mississippi activism specifically and the overall Movement generally.
(Suggestions of activists include Fannie Lou Hamer, Unita Blackwell, Annie Devine, and
Cluster 6: “The Activism of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson” (4/30)
• Essay topic option 1: Explore the activism of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson.
• Essay topic option 2: Explore the activism of Ruby Doris Smith Robinson and Diane Nash
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