Letter from A Birmingham Jail

• MLK: Letter from A Birmingham Jail • President Obama: We the People Prompt: Imagine discovered these speeches several hundred years from now, say the year 2500, and they were the only evidence you had on race relations in America during our time. You have no other evidence. Based on these two speeches, how did race relations in America change between 1963 when the Reverend Martin Luther King wrote Letter from A Birmingham Jail and 2008 when Presidential Candidate Barack Obama wrote “A More Perfect Union”? 5+ pages, 12 font, MLA formatted • Intro that provides context and funnels to a thesis • Body paragraphs that make strong comparisons between King’s and Obama’s ideas about the place of Black people in America. • A summary and emphatic conclusion Introduction: The factual background—short list for context and introduction: • Who: President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King • What: Two speeches—We the People, in order to Form a More Perfect Union and Letter from a Birmingham Jail • Where: King in a Birmingham Jail and Obama at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia • When: King in 1963 and Obama. In 2008 • How/Why: King was writing in response to the letter from the eight Alabama Clergymen and Obama in response the scandal surrounding his friend, the fiery minister, Reverend Wright. • After context, write a thesis the captures in one sentence the essential differences in how King and Obama understood race relations in America Body: Shoot for three solid comparisons—remember to compare like to like: for example, • Compare how Obama and King portray the legal status of black Americans • Compare how Obama and King portray the tone of race relations (the emotional pitch of how black and white people felt about each other) • Compare the hopes for America Obama and King developed in their speeches • Compare the frustrations Obama and King developed in their speeches Be sure to use good paragraphing (ICE paragraphs)and include quotes from Obama and King to back up each comparison. Conclusion: • Write a summary and emphatic conclusion that wraps up what you’ve developed in your body paragraphs in a way that is fresh, thorough and emphatic. The process for this is to o pause after you’ve finished your last body paragraph o make sure your thesis and topic sentences align (global coherence) o make sure your comparison paragraphs are focused o then take a short break and come back and scan your body paragraphs 2-3 times, asking yourself what the main idea is from each comparison, and then bring home the gist of your essay in a way that is fresh, thorough and emphatic

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