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AP US History DBQ example 4

Kim explains how to use the themes you identified in the primary documents as an outline, and demonstrates how to include those documents in the final essay.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user John Reydel
    Kim: this DBQ series is excellent in terms of teaching students how to write strong essays, but it does not conform to the 2016 College Board rubrics which determine the score. Can you add a segment, or adjust this one, to take the rubric into consideration?
    (15 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Kim Kutz Elliott
      Great point, John. I didn't want to make any promises about scoring here -- and I did want to make sure that the principles I talk about could withstand any revisions to the scoring system in the near future. But I think an addendum or check sheet about scoring might be really useful. I'll put it on the list of things to do before next AP season rolls around!
      (11 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user hampsojj
    This series of videos on the DBQ is not helpful for students preparing for the APUSH Exam, as it does not seem to make any reference to anything on the CB's rubric. The video should tell student that they are expected to use six of the seven documents and demonstrate extended analysis (this is not mentioned in any of the videos) of at least three documents. The CB also expects students to exhibit contextualization, outside evidence, and complex analysis. All of this should be incorporated into any discussion designed to help students be more successful on the APUSH Exam. Also, you should consider updating videos as the exam expectations are altered by the CB (they made major changes two years ago).
    (5 votes)
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  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Jasmyn Jansen
    Hi Kim,

    I never heard you mention how to use tone and annotations of the documents in the outline or writing the essay, and how to know where to look in the primary documents for notes, tone, bias, and a summary. Would you be able to give a clear, basic idea of how to approach this? Also, would you be able to address how the CollegeBoard scores the essay and what they base it on? Thanks in advance.
    (4 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user ksong1
    This was actually exactly what I was looking for-- how to write the essay, without exactly writing the essay. The rubric and other skills are easy to incorporate once you have the general framework and workflow!
    (3 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Handsome_Ransom_Studios (PAUSED)
    Hey Kim, is this exam every year? And if not, when is it next available?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Rebecca Sun
    we don't have to cite directly from the document right?
    (2 votes)
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  • primosaur tree style avatar for user Dododude01
    Thank you very much for such an in-depth and informative video! I have a better understanding of how to analyze documents and outline my essay after watching. I appreciate all the videos.
    (2 votes)
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  • leaf red style avatar for user Adam Sosa
    why was it started in the south?
    (0 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] 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. 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. As we analyzed these primary documents, we kind of identified three major themes that we wanna 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. Now we're at the writing the essay part. And while obviously I can't sit here and write a whole essay on the screen, I do wanna outline things for you, and give you a general sense of what you could talk about where. For the DBQ we're gonna do a standard five-paragraph essay, which means introduction. . . with a thesis statement, paragraph 1, 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. In this essay, to get full credit, you should expect to use either all, or all but one of the primary documents that are 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 first their was a folk saying about the effect of the boll weevil and sharecropping on black Southerner's 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 synthesize them into an argument of your own. 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 forms changed, but the underlying problem 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. All right, are you ready to take a stab at writing this? Let's kind of ease into things with our introduction. 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 ok. You could also mention that in the 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, it 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. At the end of your first paragraph in the introduction, this is the time to bring out your thesis. 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 it's impact on the lives of African Americans. This is where we break out our themes. Our first theme was about cultural differences. Remember our structure. First we're gonna talk about the things that were different, and then we're gonna talk about the things that stayed the same. One thing that was different would be that if sharecroppers moved to the city, they were 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. 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. And 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 the city, because many people found that life there was just as hard as it was in the South and we see this 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 six, the one about the race riot in Chicago. That's a paragraph about cultural differences. How about labor differences? In our second paragraph we're gonna 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 whites rioting and also segregated facilities, even bathroom facilities in these workplaces. The thing that changes is the type of labor, and here you might wanna bring up the first document where you're talking about sharecropping. So what kind of work they were doing was different, but the same kind of problems they faced in the workplace were quite similar. 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 so 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 a way of separating the races that's saying that white workers in unions might be undermined by black laborers willing to work for less. Lastly we're talking about the experience of segregation. We've already mentioned this transition from a rural to an urban environment, but you might also talk about how living patterns changed. 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. For example, African Americans were often expected to use the servant's 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 is an entire African American neighborhood, And for this you definitely wanna bring up document 7, which shows where African 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 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 snearing newspaper article from a white newspaper in Mississippi, saying oh well in Mississippi we have lynching, in the North they have explosions. 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. Generally I would advise you against bringing up any new information in a conclusion because you want your reader to come away saying "Oh yea, 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 is 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 and 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.