Write a 5-6-page paper that reflects a thoughtful analysis of the article, the film you select, and the summary question. Use examples from the film, the article and Karenga, Chapter 4 History: Africans in America, to discuss and analyze Sections One, Two and the Summary Question. Remember to discuss ALL of the questions and to include the title of the article and film in your analysis.


.Paper must be typed, double-spaced regular font, margins. Number pages in the right hand corner. Separate sections!

Do not number answers to the questions! You are writing an essay. Follow Directions! Proofread!


PAPER HEADING (Left Hand Corner, Single space)


Your Name

African American Studies/BENNETT

Paper #1




Section One, ARTICLE—Olaudah Equiano, “Africa and Virginia, 1750-1760” Use examples from the article.


  1. Give a brief description of what life was like for Equiano in his homeland before his capture. How does what he describes differ from what you may know of African life before enslavement?
  2. Discuss how you think you would react if you were taken from your home at the age of eleven. Equiano describes the Middle Passage. What about the experience did you find disturbing?
  3. Tell me what YOU learned from reading the article and what does Equiano want YOU to know? Are there any parallels to young African American males of today? Explain.


Section Two: SELECT ONE FILM –Slavery and the Making of America: “The Downward Spiral” Use examples from the film. Transcript is available in the Assignments section of Blackboard.


  1. Summarize the film, “The Downward Spiral” in your own words, including the main themes or ideas discussed. A SHORT summary—do not retell the film.
  2. Discuss the impact of slavery on the making of America. What did African enslavement contribute to the making of America? Give examples.
  3. Explain the meaning of the term, “the downward spiral”. Discuss one event that you think contributed to the “downward spiral”.
  4. Of the stories told in the film, discuss one that contributes to your understanding of the enslavement period of American history.
  5. Tell me what YOU learned from viewing the film and what YOU think the filmmaker wants you to know. Is learning about the enslavement of African people relevant to today’s history? Explain.

Section Two: SELECT ONE FILM—The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow: “Terror and Triumph 1940-1954”

  1. Give a short summary of the film’s key points and themes. What elements of the film did you find the most surprising?
  2. Analyze the film and discuss the following:

a. Why do you think the film is titled, “Terror and Triumph” and why was World War II a turning point in African American History?

b. How important were organizations to the struggle for equality by African Americans? Give an example of an organization and leader from the film that played a prominent role in the era leading to the Civil Rights Movement? Karenga’s discusses organizations in Chapter 4.


c. Did politics play a role in the film on decisions impacting African Americans in Mississippi, Georgia and in Virginia? Give an example.

  1. Discuss the role of youth and women in the film. Why do you think their participation was important? Do you see any similarities to movements of today? Explain.
  2. What role did racial violence and hostility towards African Americans play in the film during this period (1940-1954) prior to the start of the Civil Rights Movement?
  3. Tell me what YOU learned from viewing the film and what YOU think the filmmaker wants you to know. How is the history between 1940-1955 important and relevant to today? Explain.


SUMMARY QUESTION: Karenga, Chapter 4 and Video


Discuss the use of the category, “Holocaust of Enslavement” rather than “slave trade” or simply “slavery”. What is the significance of the moral emphasis put on the victims rather than the traditional commercial emphasis placed on trade? How does the use of the word “trade” hide massive violence and violate the memory of the “victims”? Do you agree or disagree with the usage of the term, “Holocaust” to describe the Middle Passage and the system of enslavement as described by Karenga in Chapter 4.

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