Reading Questions

The prompts for you to consider in your reading journal for each class session will be listed below. Keep in mind that you should submit your journal entry via Blackboard before class on the day the reading is due.

Date Topic Question(s)
Tues., Sept. 12 How do historians work? In the episode, each historian offers his or her explanation for how and why they study the past. Which of these explanations did you find most intriguing, and why?
Thurs., Sept. 14 What is an autobiography? Based on your prior knowledge and on reading Samson Occom’s account, what do you think are the most important elements that make a piece of writing an “autobiography?”
Tues., Sept. 19 The Civil Rights Movement in the United States What was your experience of learning about the civil rights movement before this course (for example, in high school or through movies/TV)?
Thurs., Sept. 21 Brown v. Board of Education and the Fight Against Segregation How did Beals describe her experience of Jim Crow as a child?
Tues., Sept. 26 Little Rock Nine I Why do you think the white students felt so threatened by the presence of the African-American students at Central High School?
Thurs., Sept. 28 Little Rock Nine II Why do you think Beals included so many newspaper headlines in her narrative of the school  year?
Tues., Oct. 3 Little Rock Nine III OPTIONAL Free Write – Offer any reflections you like on reading Warriors Don’t Cry.
Thurs., Oct. 5 Other Perspectives on Little Rock What’s one major difference between the perspectives of President Dwight Eisenhower and Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus on desegregation?
Tues., Oct. 10 Laboratory Day: Little Rock and Civil Rights No question
Thurs., Oct. 12 Slavery and Freedom in Antebellum America Based on your reading in American Yawp, what impact did slavery have on the economy and society of the southern United States?
Tues., Oct. 17 The Abolition Movement OPTIONAL: Why do you think the other issues that the chapter discusses affected and hurt the abolition movement so much?
Thurs., Oct. 19 Frederick Douglass and a Life in Slavery OPTIONAL: Free write on first half of Douglass, Narrative of the Life
Tues., Oct. 24 “How a Slave Was Made a Man” How did Douglass’s experience reflect the larger experience of slavery, freedom, and abolition in antebellum America?
Thurs., Oct. 26 Douglass as an Abolitionist Politician Would you describe Douglass’s speech as more optimistic or pessimistic about the role of slavery in the United States? Why?
Tues., Oct. 30 Douglass as an Abolitionist Publisher Select a quotation from one of the essays from the North Star that you found particularly compelling and explain why you find it interesting.
Thurs., Nov. 2 Writing/Laboratory Day No question
Tues., Nov. 7 Writing/Laboratory Day With what part of the writing process do you most struggle? Why?
Thurs., Nov. 9 The Worlds of Benjamin Franklin No question (paper due date)
Tues., Nov. 14 Boston, London, Philadelphia I Why do you think Franklin addressed Part I of his autobiography to his son William?
Thurs., Nov. 16 Boston, London, Philadelphia II Select one person from the Autobiography who played a major role in Franklin’s life. What else can you find out about that person online? Does he/she have a Wikipedia entry?
Tues., Nov. 21 Primary Source Research Based on the excerpts we read, what do you think wealth meant to Franklin?
Tues., Nov. 28 Thinking About Franklin What do you think Michael Warner is arguing in his essay on Franklin? That is, what is his thesis? (Even if you’re not sure, you should write about possibilities or, if not that, the places where you are most confused.)
Thurs., Nov. 30 Research Day Which research topic would you like to explore for the paper? Write a paragraph about your thinking, what Franklin said about that topic in his Autobiography, and what questions you’re interested in pursuing through the paper.
Tues., Dec. 5 Research Day Select one document you found in the Founders Online database. Describe what the author of it said and explain how you think it relates to the topic in the Autobiography.
Thurs., Dec. 7 Peer Editing No journal due – please complete your draft for class.
Tues., Dec. 12 What is an autobiography? No journal due – please complete your paper for class.
Thurs., Dec. 14 What is an autobiography? Reflecting on the course as a whole, in what ways do you think autobiographies are useful as historical sources?