The following material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth
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The Image of the Civil Rights Movement
Library Research Assignment
The goal of this assignment is a well-researched and thoughtful comparison of a visual
image of the American Civil Rights movement with the image of Civil Rights suggested in
Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals. This comparison will be made in both a
1000-1200 word thesis-focused essay and in an oral class presentation.
This project begins with an orientation session in the library (Sept. 21st). In this assignment you
are expected to do the following:
1.) Use the resources of the Hewes Library to gather information about a specific event in the Civil Rights movement. Each member of the seminar will work on a different event. Assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis on "A Chronology of Significant Movement Events" in Free at Last: The Civil Rights Movement and the People Who Made It by Fred Powledge (Little, Brown, 1991: pp. 649-656).
A. Your first task is to find FIVE (5) visual images (paintings, photographs or artwork) which depict this event. This part of the assignment assumes that you will consider various library resources which may provide you with an appropriate image. For this reason you will make photocopies of images from FIVE (5) different books or resources and submit them to the instructor by Sept. 30th. These resources must include at least one book , one periodical, and one website. Attach to these photocopies all essential bibliographic information. Also attach to each image a short three or four sentence statement providing some background information about the image and the country. Finally, add three or four more sentences indicating which of these images you have chosen to focus on and why.
B. After you have chosen your image, you should record your own first impressions. What does this image tell you about this event. Do you think this image realistic, impressionistic, fictional, factual, etc.? How do you feel when you look at this image? Why?
C. Now do some research in the library about this image and about the event it represents. Find out who made this image, when, how, and why. How has culture and historical period affected the artist's portrayal of the subject? How does this information affect your initial impressions of the image?
D. Also obtain basic background information and statistics about the event itself. You must
consult at least FIVE (5) sources of information about the country. These sources must include at
least one book and one journal article. No more than TWO of these sources can be
encyclopedias. NOTE: On-line and computerized encyclopoedias, except for the on-line
Encyclopoedia Britannica, are NOT acceptable resources.
2.) Use your chosen image to give a five-minute oral presentation about this event to the seminar.
In this presentation, which will take place in class onSept. 30th, you will summarize your work
for the class. Bring in an illustration of this image and talk about the work you did in 1B-1D.
3.) Write a 1000-1200 word, thesis-focused essay about this image and compare it to the image
of the civil rights movement created in Beal's Warriors Don't Cry. In this essay, which is due on
Oct. 9th, your audience will NOT be the instructor, but a general reader who knows nothing
about your topic. The essay should have a specific thesis, or point you want to make, and should
develop this thesis carefully by referring to specific aspects of both the image and Warriors
Don't Cry. Be sure to incorporate some of the information you gathered for the image and
compare it to the image of the civil rights movement created by Beals. Your essay should use
direct quotations carefully and include a bibliography of five or more citations. This essay must
be submitted to the entire seminar, as you would do with a weekly statement.
4.) Both the instructor and one other member of the seminar will read this paper and will write
statements evaluating your paper. Submit your review only to the instructor and to the author of
the paper, not to the entire seminar). These evaluations are due on Oct. 23rd. You are encouraged
to use these reviews as resources in revising their reviews for resubmission. Your evaluation of
another's work should address at least the following questions: 1.) Does this paper follow the
assignment guidelines? 2.) What are the best features of this paper? 3.) How would you improve
it? 4.) How would you use this paper to improve your own?
5.) You have the option of rewriting your paper based upon the evaluation and comments of your
classmate and your instructor as well as your own reevaluation. These resubmissions are due
immediately after fall break, on Wednesday, October 28th.
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