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Video transcript

all right this is the fourth and final in a series of videos about how to tackle the DBQ or document-based question on the AP u.s. History exam now we started out by reading all of the documents that are provided in the exam from which we are to write an essay that analyzes the major changes and continuities in the social and economic experiences of African Americans migrating from the rural South to urban areas in the north in the period 1910 to 1930 so as we analyze these primary documents we kind of identified three major themes that we want to talk about and that was cultural differences between the south and the north differences in the type of labor between the south and the north and differences in patterns of segregation in the south and the north and from these themes we came up with a thesis which was more or less that the more things change the more things stay the same so even though African Americans moved to a whole new city a whole new environment a whole new system of labor they couldn't escape persistent racism which had similar effects on their lives in the north as it did in the south so now we're at the writing the essay part and while obviously I can't sit here and write a whole essay on this screen I do want to outline things for you give you a general sense of what you could talk about we're so for the DBQ we're going to do a standard five paragraph essay which means introduction with a thesis statement paragraph one paragraph 2 paragraph 3 these will all be the body paragraphs where we'll give our evidence in support of our thesis and then a conclusion which wraps up what we've said before and really drives home our point now in this essay to get full credit you should expect to use either all or all but one of the primary documents that provided and that means you need to reference them all although you don't necessarily have to go into detail about every single one of them and what I want to caution you against doing is just talking about each piece of evidence one after another without putting them into a larger framework of ideas so don't just say oh well you know first there was a folk saying about the effect of the boll weevil and sharecropping on black southerners lives and then some of them asked for help moving north they wrote to the Chicago Defender because you don't want to just let this evidence lead you along what you want to do instead is say that you have read these pieces of evidence you have analyzed them and now you're going to synthesize them into an argument of your own now this is where the themes come in handy because we've taken the time to see what's going on in all of these documents and kind of bubble up to the surface what are the real important issues that people are talking about and as we thought about changes and continuities in those things the thesis that we came up with was more or less that even though the form of each of these things changed the form of the culture the form of the labor the form of the segregation the underlying problem of racism kind of remained so this thesis actually gives us a really neat structure for the rest of the essay because we've said the forum's changed but the underlying problems stayed the same so for each of these body paragraphs we'll talk first about the change in form but then we'll talk about the underlying problems that stay the same alright are you ready to take a stab at writing this so let's kind of ease into things with our introduction so I think a good thing for us to do might be to set the scene a little bit and we talked about some of the historical events that were going on at this time period so you might say that sharecropping had really been an economic loss for african-americans and so they were feeling the pressure both from the system of sharecropping where 50% of what they got was sent back to landowners and also from the boll weevil which had killed off a considerable amount of the crop so they just weren't doing okay you could also mention that in 1890s the Supreme Court case Plessy versus Ferguson had made separate but equal accommodations legal for blacks and for whites which basically put racism as part of the law so if there had been any hope remaining that the Civil War and reconstruction were going to result in a society in the South that was not based on racial discrimination was kind of destroyed with Plessy versus Ferguson at least for the time being and then lastly you might say that World War one as the United States mobilized for the war led to many new factory jobs in the north which gave african-americans in the south an opportunity to leave okay so at the end of your first paragraph in the introduction this is the time to bring out your thesis so our thesis is even though African Americans who moved from the south to the north in the period 1910 to 1930 experienced tremendous changes in the culture surrounding them the work that they did and their living patterns they still suffered from many of the same problems that they had suffered from in the south due to the pervasive influence of racism in a way what you're saying here is that racism was a national problem in the United States it didn't change from north to south so even though the form that racism took might be different in South Carolina and Chicago there was no real qualitative difference in its impact on the lives of African Americans okay this is where we break out our themes so our first theme was about cultural differences so remember our structure first we're going to talk about the things that were different and then we're going to talk about the things that stayed the same so one thing that was different would be that if sharecroppers moved to the city they're moving from a rural to an urban environment where many african-americans in the south had worked as sharecroppers and lived in a farming situation now they were headed to the heart of the city where they might be surrounded by other african-americans I bring up the map from document 7 here and they were also worried about what it would be like to take a job in the city somewhere that was completely far away from home this would be a part where you might consider talking about the newspaper letter in document 2 where a man writes to the Chicago Defender asking for help because he's afraid he might get hoodwinked so what are some of the things that stayed the same well I think we can definitely say that some of their fears were justified about the move to this city because many people found that life there was just as hard as it was in the south and we see that in this document about the Cotton Belt blues we might even say on kind of a larger cultural level that white people in the north were no more kind to them than white people in the south and here you might consider bringing up document number 6 the one about the race riot in Chicago okay that's a paragraph about cultural differences how about labor differences all right what in our second paragraph we're going to talk about how even though african-americans moved to a completely different type of Labor from sharecropping to factory work they still faced pervasive racism in the factory system that led to White's rioting and all Oh segregated facilities even bathroom facilities in these workplaces so the thing that changes is the type of labor and here you might want to bring up the first document where you're talking about sharecropping alright so what kind of work they were doing was different but the same kind of problems that they faced in the workplace were quite similar so they faced segregation in the workplace and they faced stereotypes about the kind of work they did and whether or not they were good workers and here you might bring up the third article where the efficiency expert talks about how it's important to separate white and black workers that you don't have any kind of racial friction in your office and you might also talk about the sixth article where they say that many people believe that african-american workers were used as scabs in strikes so that's a kind of way of separating the races that's saying that white workers and unions might be undermined by black laborers willing to work for less alright lastly we're talking about the experience of segregation now we've already mentioned this transition from a rural to an urban environment but you might also talk about how living patterns change so in the South African Americans and whites usually lived in similar places in the same town in the same parts of town more or less but the way that they used space was slightly different so for example African Americans were often expected to use the servants entrance sit either at the back of a movie theater or maybe not even go into the same places as a white person but in Chicago there's an entire african-american neighborhood and for this you definitely want to bring up document 7 which shows where F and Americans were living in Chicago and the thing that stays the same is really the system of segregation itself northern segregation looks different but it's still segregation so you might talk about I mean this is still segregation is one thing you you can say and you can also say that there's kind of a implicit promise of violence if African Americans step out of line in the system of segregation and here you might talk about document number four which is this kind of smearing newspaper article from a white newspaper in Mississippi saying oh well in Mississippi we have lynching in the north they have explosions you know their point was oh well isn't lynching better but for the purposes of your essay what you can really say is what's the difference they're both forms of death for getting out of line in a system of racism so there's nothing that's really all that different there anyway and now we're at the conclusion so generally I would advise you against bringing up any new information in a conclusion because you want your reader to come away saying oh yeah that was right not wait a minute the author didn't talk about that in the essay at all why are they mentioning it in the conclusion so I would advise you to just kind of restate what you've been talking about throughout the essay saying that even though there's this vast transformation in the culture the living situations the work of African Americans who are moving from the south to the north the substantive problem of racism stayed the same all right well that's it for the DBQ taking the time to do your due diligence in understanding these documents and coming up with an idea and a structure and even an outline will really pay off in the long run because it will help you to write an essay that is really strong and really clear
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