Akilah Beasley

March 29, 2010

College Composition 106 WISE

Development of a Clark Atlanta University Scholar

During my second semester at Clark Atlanta University I was able to enroll in a program called WISE; this program focuses heavily on improving writing skills and incorporating the use of technology in the classroom. The program makes both English and History courses parallel to each other. The College Composition 106 class accounts for the English portion of the program. This class was one of my favorite classes; I was able to analyze the significance of many aspects of history using technology and literature as key resources. This class did not just highlight significant aspects of history; it allowed me to learn how to construct a successful research paper, ponder the issue of colorism and master the technique of citing sources in MLA and CMS format.

Technology played an enormous role is this course; many of our assignments were submitted via computer. We were assigned blogs that we had to post on a website called WordPress.com. My first blog assignment https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/dubois-vs-washington-how-great-was-the-debate/  was based on a dispute between W.E.B Dubois and Booker T. Washington. After reading and analyzing both positions I came to the conclusion that if these two men were to just sit down and discuss their positions with each other, they would realize that they were both fighting the same battle with different weapons.  I think that if both of the men were to combine certain aspects of each argument, they would reach a more profound solution to the Negro Problem. I did not feel like this debate was necessary because it influenced divisions within the Negro race; some people may have taken the side of Washington and others may have taken the side of Dubois. No matter which side people chose to agree with, it did not united our race in any way and it did not solve the Negro Problem.

The second blog assignment https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/130-2/was based on a document written by Thomas Jefferson. This document expressed Thomas Jefferson opinions about Africans and anyone who derived from the African race. Thomas Jefferson did not view blacks as human beings. This was evident though out the text; it was made impeccably clear in the fourth paragraph however. Thomas stated, “…we have had under our eyes the races of black and of red men, they have never yet been viewed by us as subjects of natural history” this line made me realize that blacks and native Americans weren’t viewed by society as human beings; they thought that they weren’t “natural”. Reading this made me very uneasy because the tone of this paragraph was very nonchalant. There was also another line that read “It is not against experience to suppose, that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualifications”, In my opinion Jefferson was trying to say that it doesn’t take a genius to realize that two different races can posses different characteristics and that one can be superior to the other—inferring that whites were superior to blacks. I think that Jefferson was wrong in what he was saying; I think that his statement were extremely ignorant because he did not have factual evidence to support his accusations.

The third blog assignment  https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/blog-3-response-to-presentation/was a response to a research presentation that one of my classmates displayed. The presentation was about welfare and how African-Americans became the face of welfare when it was originally created for the benefit of single white mothers. After the presentation was over my teacher asked an extremely interesting question; she asked us to ponder other things that black people are considered the “face” of. I responded by saying that black women have become the face of weave and or hair extensions. Many people believe that every black woman wears a weave. There is also the belief that the women who wear weave do so because they do not have enough hair to wear on its own. I know many black females including myself who wear weave and still have healthy growing hair. I also argued that there are many non-African-American women who add weave tracks to their hair. If there are many different types of women who wear weaves then why are African American women the only ones who are criticized for it? Each blog assignment urged me to ponder different scenarios from uncommon viewpoints; they allowed me to broaden my horizons and surpass my usual thinking level.

The next assignment that I was given was based on a slave narrative of my choice. I chose to use Annie Burton’s Memories of Childhood Slavery Days as my narrative. A group presentation, an annotated bibliography, and a research paper based on the analytical aspects of my narrative followed my choice. The first assignment was my group presentation. My group presented the main ideas of the narrative by performing a skit. The skit highlighted many significant aspects of the narrative. The presentation did not go as I planned yet it was still successful.

The second assignment within this saga was a prospectus and annotated bibliography https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/prospectus-and-annotated-bibliography/This assignment assisted greatly in the process of writing the research paper. The prospectus helped me reach my research question which in turn helped me to develop a thesis statement. These two components are the most essential parts of a research paper. If I didn’t do my prospectus than it would have been difficult for me to take a stand on how I felt about the topic that I chose to research. The annotated bibliography helped me cite my sources correctly. It also forced me to actually read my sources so that I could write an annotation that was an appropriate fit for the rhetorical situation.  It also lessened the pressure of writing my paper; I had already read my sources and I already knew which sources I would use in my paper. If I hadn’t done the annotated bibliography then I would have just skimmed through random sources while writing my paper, searching for a part to use so that I would have a sufficient amount of citations in my paper. Both the prospectus and annotated bibliography guided me to writing a successful research paper; they provided me with a sense of direction.

 Part three of the saga was my research paper https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/the-influence-and-legacy-of-christianity-in-annie-l-burton%e2%80%99s-memories-of-childhood%e2%80%99s/; this portion accounted for my midterm grade. I chose to explore connections between Christianity and slavery. Christianity was used as a mechanism to condition captured Africans who worked as slaves. Slaves were told that they would be saved by God if they obeyed their masters; if they continued to have faith, then one day they would be saved by the grace of God and permitted in to the pearly gates of heaven. Although this notion was used to brainwash the slaves, it gave them the comfort they needed to survive the harsh conditions of slavery. Many slaves espoused this way of thinking; they often fantasized about the utopia that they would live in once they entered the pearly gates. Was this sense of comfort gilded, or was it really pure? Exploring whether or not converting to Christianity was a pure movement for the African slaves was an extremely interesting process—obtaining the answer to my research question was not particularly easy however. My topic was extremely broad; therefore I had a difficult time with focusing all of my information on the narrative in which I chose to base my research on. I think that I would like to expand even further on this topic in the future because this topic requires a large amount of explaining in order to reach a solid conclusion. If I had to change one part about the way that my paper was written I would have made my thesis connect more to my narrative. I believe that both of those components matched each other but the words that I used to connect them did not do that well enough. Because my topic was so broad, I could have written well over three to four pages had I included a more detailed analysis of my topic. I wish to use this same topic to write a longer paper where I will explore those aspects of Christianity and slavery even deeper. Over all I feel like I wrote a great paper; I do see where improvements can be made however, I will keep all of the corrections that I received from my teacher in mind for the next time that I have to write a paper. I think that I’ve learned a lot about my topic, I was able to look that this scenario from a different view-point. I have always been one to argue that African-Americans shouldn’t become Christians because the slaves where once brainwashed into converting to Christianity, writing this paper altered my way of thinking however. It opened my mind, helping me to understand that the slaves converted to Christianity because they found comfort in it. They put all of their faith into God’s hands; therefore their conversion was authentic and extremely significant.

The last major assignment that involved my College Composition class was paralleled to an assignment that I was given in my USA, Africa and the World history class. This assignment was to write a five to seven page research paper https://akilah09.wordpress.com/english-spring-2010/%e2%80%9ccolorism-and-the-social-interactions-between-light-and-dark-skinned-african-american-women%e2%80%9d/ . The foundation of my research lied in the hands of colorism. Colorism is an extremely controversial fixation that has poisoned the minds of African-Americans for centuries. Changes in the ways that blacks interact with each other in society are the consequences of colorism. African Americans have learned to put emphasis on the skin color of the people belonging to their own race; they make divisions in their race based on those skin colors and associate stereotypes with each party. As I researched colorism, I chose to focus on how this obstruction has altered the ways that African-American women interact with each other. When I began writing my paper my intentions were not to focus specifically on African-American women; I wanted to focus on the entire race including men, women, children, and elders. I realized that it was an extremely broad topic; if I wanted to develop a research paper that had a clear, distinct purpose then I would have to focus on a specific aspect of colorism therefore I narrowed it down to women. I was able to construct an extremely interesting research paper. The thesis statement that provided my paper with direction was the notion that colorism created divisions and hierarchy within the race; it also left an everlasting sense of insecurity in both light and dark-skinned women. I had a difficult time with forming my thesis statement; the assignment that helped me to formulate it was a presentation of my topic. I decided to make a blog that was based on my topic. I presented the blog in front of my class and receive excellent feedback from both my peers and my instructor. My instructor asked me a number of questions which urged me to think of ways to evolve my original thesis statement. After receiving such excellent feedback from my class, I was able to redirect my paper and issue facts that would assist me in approaching a solid and significant conclusion. My research paper was a success due to the results of my presentation for my English class.

Over all I believe that my writing skills have improved tremendously; I still have issues with using commas in inappropriate places but I am still working on improving that flaw. I have definitely learned how to read between the lines when evaluating historic events and documents. I like to dissect parts of history and find the significance in each occurrence; that is why I enjoyed this class so much. College Composition 106 was one of my favorite classes. I believe that my performance in this class was proficient—I tried to do each assignment to the best of my ability.