Response Essay Assignment:
Using specific scenes as examples from the film Sankofa, and supplemented by other videos and historical evidence in the first unit of readings, discuss the ways that Africans resisted their enslavement and oppression during the slave trade and under the institution of slavery. You will want to be as specific as possible in describing the process and practice of discrimination, and how enslaved peoples struggled against it to define more of their own existence and to experience something other than misery. Length: 3-4 pages, double-spaced.
Link for Sankofa: http://rocket.lib.muohio.edu/kaltura/1_438plfae – Sankofa
Remember, any well-written essay contains the following elements: an introduction, a thesis, a body that demonstrates that thesis using evidence and argumentation, and a conclusion.
Topic Statement — a sentence (or several) telling your reader what you are writing about. This means that the reader should be able to figure out from the first couple of sentences who, what, where, and when you’re writing about.
Thesis Statement — a sentence (or more) telling your reader what you are going to argue. A good thesis statement tells the reader not simply that you are going to explore the impact of the Revolution on African Americans, for example; it also tells the reader something about what that impact was (good, bad, mixed) and in what ways (political, economic, religious).
The thesis is different from the topic statement in that the thesis takes a stand on a question. In a sense, the thesis statement explains the internal “why?” of the paper. The external “why?” is the paper is, for most of you, the simple fact that you have to write the paper to pass the course to get the credit to get your degree. But the internal “why?” is the heart of the matter: it indicates to your reader that you are not simply listing facts, but attempting to arrange them in a particular order to explain and demonstrate something about the past. The thesis statement is, implicitly, an answer to a question: why should readers care about the “who, what, where, and when” they just read about in the topic statement?
The main purpose of the body of the paper is to prove your thesis. To do this, you need to provide evidence sufficient to prove your case, and you need to explain how that evidence proves your argument. Evidence includes quotations from primary and/or secondary sources.
The conclusion should summarize the main points of your argument. This summary is still part of the argument, so you cannot simply write: “As I have shown, Massachusetts was the best colony for servants.” It may help to think of the conclusion as if it were the closing argument made by a lawyer in a case—you need to remind the judge and jury (your readers) of what you are arguing and why your case is convincing. You do not want to bore or insult your readers, however, and you do not want to undermine your case, so you should be brief and to the point. It can be effective to suggest the larger significance of your argument or raise some further questions, but this is difficult to do well, so you may prefer to quit while you’re ahead.
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