I. Instructions & Research Prompt
African-American history is often too painful to remember, but too dangerous to forget. From the raiding of African villages enroute to the Middle Passage; from 1619, when the first 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia; to the passage of the 13th amendment ending slavery. African-Americans fought, died, killed, and persevered as acts of agency. The Black church was an institutional bedrock in the struggle for Black liberation.
Aim to identify a common thread that can tie the readings, presentations, documentary and film together. Use this unifying thread to form a clear and precise thesis statement that can be pursued throughout the paper.
II. Required Sources
Be sure to include sound evidence to support your analysis from any of the sources below:
Readings- African-American Religion Timothy Fulop
Historical Documentary- The Black Church narrated by Dr. Henry Louis Gates
Film- Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation. Film released in 2016. (Parker directed, co-wrote and co-produced).
Outside sources- up to writer
III. Suggested Themes:
Use the readings, documentary on the Black church, presentations, and Birth of Nation film to explore three of the themes below:
How Black christians adopted and adapted Christiany
Strategies of resistance used by the Black church/preachers in
Role of women and gender in the Black church
The impact of the Black church on African-American history and community
The “new” church (analysis of the role the church should play in current freedom struggles)
NOTE: You may include other themes after consultation and approval.
IV. MECHANICS OF STYLE & PAPER GUIDELINES:
Be sure to write in a clear and concise manner. Avoid over quoting and long quotes. A mere sentence for a quote will usually suffice. As a reviewer of these documents, you are expected to focus on the above instructions in your own language and scholarly style. This is not a paper requiring end or footnotes. However, if you are using direct quotes, give the author and page number in parentheses immediately after the citation. Example: (Butler, 25)
All papers must be typed (no larger than 12 point font), double-spaced 5-6 pages. Avoid "fudging" the margins or font size. Papers should be proofread to correct spelling and grammatical errors. Easily avoidable errors will weaken your overall presentation and negatively impact your grade. Please STAPLE your papers.
Avoid colloquial expressions. Slang is inappropriate in an academic paper.
Do not use contractions in formal writing. For example, use "did not" instead of "didn’t".
Use the past tense when writing about events that occurred in the past i.e. (Slaves experienced overwhelming challenges). Use the present tense when discussing an author and his/her work i.e. (In Kindred Butler explores the plight of southern slaves)
Avoid using all first and second person pronouns in your writing. Examples include "me", "my", "I", "we", "our", "you", and "your." There are ways to express yourself without using these pronouns. Often times your thoughts, ideas, and conclusions can just be stated affirmatively. For example, “These factors seem to suggest that Buttler understood the effectiveness of the fiction genre.” "In my opinion…" can be replaced with "In the opinion of this writer…" Also instead of "If you think about this aspect…" try "If one thinks about this aspect…"
For further assistance on writing an effective paper, you are encouraged to consult with the specialists at the Language House Writing Center.
Include a cover page with your name, title, class, and instructor.
Lastly, and certainly not least, do not plagiarize. If you have questions about plagiarism do not hesitate to ask me.
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