Akilah Beasley

USA, Africa and the World History 202

December 11, 2009

                                                                        Reflective Essay

                                    In Retrospect: USA, Africa and the World  History

            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 USA, Africa and the World History class accounts for the history portion of the program. This class was one of my most significant classes because I was able to learn and write about different aspects of history using technology as a key resource for doing such. This did not just highlight significant aspects of history; it allowed me to ponder the issue of colorism, construct a successful research paper, and master the technique of citing in 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. All of our assignments reflected aspects of history; we were able to erect creative thesis statements based on aspects of history that we found interesting. After constructing a thesis statement, we were encouraged to elaborate on that topic in a research paper, which was the most significant assignment of the semester.

I chose to do my research paper on the issue 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 further, I realized that this 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. I chose to focus on the ways that colorism affected the interactions between light and dark skinned African American women. I was able to construct an extremely interesting seven page research paper.

There were many assignments that helped me develop my thesis statement. The first was an annotated bibliography—this assignment helped me gather the sources that I needed to reach a conclusion. It also lead me to create the bibliography which followed my paper. In each annotation, I explained the significance of that source; this helped me to elaborate on my sources instead of just gathering sources so that I could pretend like I actually did research.

The second assignment that helped me to develop my thesis statement was the prospectus—this assignment urged me to describe the main purpose and content of my paper. I was able to construct a functioning thesis statement once I wrote my prospectus. My thesis statement continued to change after I submitted my prospectus however; I had to figure out a way to narrow my topic down to focus on a specific aspect of it. Both Ms. Underwood and Ms. Peterson helped me to develop a clearer thesis after I submitted the first draft of my research paper and did a presentation about my topic in front of my English class. They both asked me questions about my topic that urged me to ponder the effects that colorism had on African American women and the ways that they interact with each other. Once I received input from my Professors, I was able to write a successful research paper.

            I enjoyed writing my research paper. It allowed me to research an interesting aspect of history—one whose effects are still present in today’s society. Over all I believe that my writing skills have improved tremendously although I have issues with using commas in inappropriate places. I have definitely learned a lot about the history of different nations, cultures, and races.  I loved being in USA, Africa and the World; this class was one of my favorites and I believe that my performance in this class was good. I enjoyed the second part of this class even more than I enjoyed the first part that I took in the fall.