Guidelines for Paper Historical Analysis of the Civil Rights Movement Sources for this paper: Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (required text) 1** Harvard Sitkoff, “The Preconditions for Racial Change’ 2** David J. Garrow, “A Leader for His Time: Martin Luther King, Jr.’ (an excerpt from Garrow’s 1988 book Bearing the 3**
Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) THE ESSAY SHOULG ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
The Essay Question: Historians, including Harvard Sitkoff and David Garrow, frequently suggest that the Civil Right Movement was driven forward by national leaders and organizations, who in turn mobilized individuals at the grass roots level. They also look to broad national and international trends to help explain the movement’s successes.
Anne Moody’s autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi, offers a different kind of analysis from that presented by Sitkoff and Garrow. In a well-written, clearly argued essay, please discuss how Moody’s personal history supports, alters and/or challenges this traditional narrative of the Civil Rights Movement. You will want to consider how Moody’s personal experiences shaped the ways in which she understood and participated in the formal Civil Rights Movement. You should also explicitly (though succinctly) address the assumptions and arguments of Sitkoff and Garrow.
(Try to bring the three pieces into dialogue with each other by integrating Sitkoff and Garrow’s arguments throughout the paper rather than simply addressing them up front and moving on.) Some questions to consider: What were the most important events, ideas, or experiences that shaped Moody’s “coming of age”Why were these events especially important? What did Moody learn from them? How did she come to understand the social significance of gender, race, and class? How did these understandings inform her participation in the Civil Rights Movement?
What was Moody’s relationship to national organizations like the NAACP and SNCC and how did she react to leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr.? How and why did her personal experiences lead to her wonder by the end of the book if “we shall overcome”Your essay should be structured around a clear argument, not some vague statement that “personal experiences were important to Moody.’
Rather, you should argue which experiences or what kind of experiences were important to her “coming of age,’ show how and why they were important, and discuss how her autobiography complicates and/or reasserts traditional narratives of the Civil Rights Movement.
Instructions: Paper should be 5-7 pages, double-spaced, and typed in 12-point font. Do not alter your margins, spacing or font size: we can tell and it’s annoying! This paper should properly acknowledge words and ideas that are not your own.
Please give citations using Chicago Style. I have posted a quick guide to using this form of citation on the class blackboard site under “Assignments.’ Since the Sitkoff and Garrow essays I’ve posted were both reprinted in a sourcebookï¿½ï¿½”and since the page numbers refer to that reprinted versionï¿½ï¿½”you should cite the essays using the format for a chapter in a book. The book in which these essays appeared is: Major Problems in American History, Vol. II: Since 1865, eds. Elizabeth Cobs Hoffman and Jon Gjerde (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2002).
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