Guidelines for writing the exam:
• Essay length: 1200-1800 words, approximately four to six pages.
• You must use at least four (4) sources from the course to support your essay. Separate chapters, primary sources, films, etc. are counted as one source each.
• Do not use outside sources to answer the midterm questions; there are plenty of sources commenting on the material to answer the question of your choice.
• Provide an introductory paragraph that includes a strong thesis statement; also be sure to include a concluding paragraph that reinforces your thesis and major points.
. An example of a weak thesis might be: “Marcus Garvey was bad for Pan-Africanism because he was a lousy business person.” Restated in a stronger and better way may render: ‘Marcus Garvey failed at being a strong Pan-Africanist because he was an ill-equipped business person who failed to secure trade between the U.S. and Africa.’
• The body paragraphs should use evidence to address the argumentative or analytical components of the essay.
• Double space your responses, identify the question you are answering and place your name at the top of the essay. All margins should be 1 inch.
• Include parenthetical notes when citing or referring to source material. Examples: (Blyden, p. 82), (Class Film, “The Story of Marcus Garvey: A Documentary”), etc.—If in doubt, cite it!!! Citations should also accompany paraphrased ideas.
• Do not attach a bibliography or a cover sheet.
• If time permits, have your responses read by someone not taking the course or read them aloud for clarity and to check sentence structure. The Writing Center is also a good resource for proofing this exam.
• Finally, avoid the passive voice as much as possible as it weakens your argument. Examples: was achieved, has been presented, have been ruined, etc.
Papers will be graded according to the following criteria:
• Formatting, Punctuation, Grammar, Organization: 15 percent
• Strength and effectiveness of introductory and concluding paragraphs, including thesis statement: 15 percent
• Use of detail and evidence to support your argument/analysis: 30 percent
• Critical thinking component (analysis, development of argument, etc.) of the essay: 40 percent
Select one (1) of the following prompts and then compose an essay that answers it; use the instructions above to inform the structure/scope of your essay:
1. In Barracoon, Kossula describes his desire to return home, to West Africa, upon his emancipation in the 1860s. Kossula’s idea is shared by many over the next several generations. Compose a paper that explores how these ideas of an African home change or are consistent with Black or African Americans between the 1860s and, roughly, 1950s. In composing this paper, you will need to identify a few ideas and examples that will support your argument for or against change on the idea of Africa as home for African or Black Americans. You should also define the concept (or definition) of “home” early on in this paper.
2. The concepts of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism have been prominently exhibited in this course through to the mid-term. However, we haven’t necessarily separated or favored one or the other in this class yet. Based on the course materials and conversations we’ve had to date (spanning the 1860s-1950s), which concept best fits what we’ve been studying and how we are approaching the material? Your response should define Black Nationalism or Pan-Africanism early on in the paper. You should select representative samples that cover the first six weeks of class to support your argument.
3. On page 151, Blyden suggests that a new phase of Black or African American perception of Africans and the continent began with the writings of W.E.B DuBois and the New Negro movement (or Harlem Renaissance). This phase, while still accepting the image of “exotic and primitive” Africa, also embraced the continent’s past greatness and made new attempts for Black Americans to connect with the continent. Do you agree with Blyden’s argument? Why or why not? Using examples from several sources, compose a response that supports or refutes her assertion. In your response, you should establish what previous decades have looked like in this relationship between the two populations.
4. We’ve explored numerous historical figures who’ve attempted to link African or Black Americans with the continent and its people. Write a paper that selects two or three figures you deem most important to connect the two societies between the 1860s and 1950s. Thereafter, select one of these figures and compose and argument defending their status as the most important individual. You should also create an argument for why the others pale in comparison.