His Promised Land Essay Assignment
Much of the history of abolition has focused on the work of white men and women, individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Harriett Beecher Stowe, who fought to bring an end to the institution of slavery. What has often been underplayed in these accounts is the work undertaken by African-American men and women to free themselves and undermine the institution of slavery. John P. Parker’s story, transcribed as His Promised Land, details how he gained freedom and assisted others on the Underground Railroad. After reading Parker’s account and the relevant material in the Foner text (particularly chapters 11 and 12), write a well-organized essay that answers the following question:
How Did African-Americans Advance the Cause of Abolitionismin the United States?
In answering this question, be sure to use Parker’s account as the foundation of your essay, drawing on material from throughout his life: his period of enslavement, his escape to freedom, his efforts in assisting others gain freedom, and his work as a free skilled craftman and entrepreneur. In addition, be sure to draw on at least two additional primary sources included in the assignment folder (e.g., David Walker’s Appeal, Henry Bibb’s letter, etc.) to explain how the abolitionist movement expanded during the early nineteenth century and how African-Americans themselves actively shaped the movement.
Provide a strong thesis. The thesis should be a concise statement in the first paragraph of your essay that clearly answers the question and presents a historical argument regarding the role of African-Americans in undermining slavery.
Develop an appropriate and concise historical context. Information from the Foner textbook (Give Me Liberty!) and the primary sources on Blackboard will give you the material you need to provide necessary background on slavery and abolitionism in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Use specific evidence from your sources to support your thesis. The examples you select should provide support for your argument; do not merely provide a summary of Parker’s life or a general description of the contents of several sources.
Cite your sources properly and include a works cited page. Be sure to cite both paraphrased and directly quoted information, placing the page number(s) on which you found the cited information in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Example: (Parker 90).
The entry in the works cited page should be:
Parker, John P. His Promised Land. Edited by Stuart Seely Sprague, Norton, 1996.
An entry for an online document would look like this:
Walker, David. Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles. 1829. Electronic Edition, Documenting the American South. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/walker/walker.html. Accessed 1 November 2020.
An entry for the textbook would look like this:
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty: An American History, Volume 1. Seagull 5th ed. Norton, 2017.
If you would like additional guidance with MLA format, see the following websites:
Provide a conclusion that effectively wraps up your argument and leaves the reader convinced that you have supported your thesis.
Your essay should be five pages, typed, and double-spaced. Use one-inch margins and a suitable 12 pt. font such as Times New Roman.
Do not provide a separate title page. Include your name, the course and section number, and the date single-spaced in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. Provide a meaningful title for your paper and center it above the first paragraph.
Make sure that you have a back-up copy for yourself.
Allow yourself plenty of time to read the materials, consider the question, revise an initial draft, and proofread your final paper. Please feel free to discuss with me any questions or concerns you may have about the paper before it is due.
Checklist for Success
After you complete your paper, measure it against the following criteria:
Does your essay answer the assigned question?
Does your essay present a thesis in the opening paragraph? Does your paper present clear ideas, provide concrete evidence, and demonstrate effective reasoning?
Is your essay clear and effectively organized? Is each paragraph in your paper organized around a well-defined topic? Does each paragraph begin with a clear topic sentence? Does each paragraph relate to your thesis?
Do you properly cite evidence from the assigned readings? Did you include a works cited page?
Have you checked your essay for spelling mistakes, grammatical problems, and misplaced or misused punctuation?