America Since 1865: Dubois

The paper, worth 35% of the course grade, should be 3 pages’ long. Completion of the paper is one of the requirements for passing the course.

The essay will focus on Document 4, written by W.E.B. Du Bois, in chapter five of Major Problems in American History. Write the essay with the following guidelines in mind: After reading the source (a few times would be a good idea), you should place the document in historical context and consider how it sheds light on the subject of race relations in the period in which it was written.

In addition to saying something about race relations in the period in which the Du Bois document was written, you should analyze the document. You might briefly say something about the author, the document’s purpose, and its intended audience. In analyzing the key points in the Du Bois document, you can certainly quote directly from the source (use quotation marks to indicate a direct quotation). You will almost certainly want to refer to the ideas of Booker T. Washington, whose thinking is presented in the same chapter (Document 3). In writing the paper, you should emphasize those parts of the Du Bois source that you find most important or illuminating. The aim of your essay is to use the Du Bois document to explain how this source sheds light on American race relations and African-American aspirations in the early twentieth century.

Note: You should base your understanding of the period and the document on the material covered in the relevant lectures, on the discussions you have had in section, and (if helpful) on the relevant essays in Major Problems. It is not necessary to do any outside reading to complete the assignment.

Some further guidance: The paper, which should be three pages’ long, will likely be divided into six paragraphs. The first paragraph will provide relevant historical background on race relations in the early twentieth century and prepare the reader for a discussion of the Du Bois document. Paragraphs 2-5 will discuss and analyze the Du Bois document, including some discussion of Washington’s perspective. The final paragraph will serve as a conclusion, in which you will sum up what you have discussed in the paper. The concluding paragraph will likely say something about why the document and the ideas it contains are historically significant. Note: If you quote directly from the document, here is an example of how to do so: As Du Bois writes, “this is an age when the more advanced races are coming in closer contact with the less developed races” (132).

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