African-American Literature

In a fully formed essay written by yourself, discuss the connections you see between Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets and African-American literature that’s the focus of this course.

You should form a thesis based on how you see the book connecting (or not) to African American literature based on the themes Thomas examines in the book and connections to other texts we’ve read.

You should use specific examples from Down These Mean Streets to support/defend your thesis.

No outside sources are necessary. You can include limited sources if you want but the primary source should be your close analysis of Down These Mean Streets itself.


• You should use the texts as you write and can quote from them, but it is fine to summarize action to make your points. You do not have to use extensive quotes.
• Do not quote large blocks of poetry/text (more than 4-5 lines): summarize instead and quote only the most important parts
• You are encouraged to use the ACE Center tutors: online appointments are available
• You should format all sources using the MLA citation format, including the poems you quote from. See instructions at the Purdue OWL site online and/or seek assistance from the writing center
• Your paper should include a final page titled Works Cited with all your sources (see details above) that carefully follows the MLA guidelines
• Outside sources are not needed or allowed for this assignment: use class notes and the assigned texts
• You must write your own essay. Chat GPT and other AI software is not allowed

To do well on this

• Read the assignment carefully and make sure you do what it asks
• Pay close attention to spelling, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure: they count toward your grade
• Be sure to use specific examples from texts to support your points then connect the examples to your thesis using your own analysis
• Focus on analysis (your own interpretation of the texts) rather than summary (what the texts say). Use only as much summary as is necessary to make your points
• Pay attention to length: don’t submit essays that are significantly shorter than specified (3-4 pages, double spaced Times font) or much longer

• Your work doesn’t need to be perfect: it just has to answer the questions, do so accurately, and show that you read and understood the texts
• Make an appointment with me to answer questions
• Follow the required submission format below carefully


• Length: 3-4 pages (1000-1200 words), typed, double spaced
• 12 point Times font, with 1″ margins.
• Put your name and preferred email address on the top left corner of the first page
• Number pages (except the first) in the top right corner
• MS Word (doc or docx) files only


• Use the Paper Submission link on the “Assignments” page on the course website to submit completed papers. You will be emailed a receipt by Dropbox confirming that I have it
• Please name your file as follows “firstname_lastname_AAS267_essay2.docx”
• Use File > “save as”/ “download as” to save Google docs and MS Word online docs as MS Word (docx) files to upload. Google how to do this if you don’t know.
• Please do not attempt to email papers: they will not be accepted

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