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Copy/pasting what my professor wrote: “In short, there are a lot of questions you can choose to address. But just pick one or two. As usual, try to use four or more primary sources and a couple of secondary sources. One possibility is the civil rights movement. For instance, whose “methods” do you think are more effective for making change, Martin Luther King’s (nonviolent, willing to cooperate with white liberals, based on “moral suasion” instead of coercive force) or Malcolm X’s (which didn’t shun violence, was less friendly to liberals, was more willing to provoke and anger mainstream society)? Or are they complementary and both necessary? Do you think it ever makes sense, tactically, for the oppressed to violently rise up, even to go beyond what Malcolm X advocated and riot, burn and smash property, foster conditions of “chaos” so as to make themselves heard and feared by the powerful? Martin Luther King got more radical after 1964, shifting his focus from anti-segregation to class issues and the antiwar movement. When he was killed in 1968 in Memphis, he was attempting to build an interracial Poor People’s Campaign that would march on Washington. He was beginning to advocate socialism, and he was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike. (His last speech, which he gave the night before his death, is rather moving. When he mentions “illegal injunctions” in the speech he’s referring to a judge’s declaration that the strike was illegal and had to end, otherwise its leaders would be thrown in jail. It’s debatable that at that point in history, after the Wagner Act, such injunctions were themselves legal anymore.) Why do you think so few people know of this last, radical phase of King’s career? What does that say about our society? Do you think contemporary activists can learn any useful lessons from the ideas, the practices, the successes or failures of the Black Panthers? Alternatively, how would you evaluate the Great Society? Could it have really transformed American society if not for the Vietnam War and its shifting of priorities, or was it necessarily destined to be very limited and ultimately to, in many respects, peter out after a few years? Or, on the contrary, do you think it actually did bring about deep transformations of America and was quite ‘successful’ on the whole? If you don’t like these topics, you can discuss the New Left and/or Vietnam. Kenneth Cmiel’s essay in Major Problems on how the New Left triggered a “revolution in manners” is pretty interesting, which you could use primary sources either to embellish further or to argue against (if you think he overstates his case, for example). You could write about one or more of the social movements of the Sixties, such as why you think the New Left dissipated by the very late 60s or early 70s. What caused its ‘decline’? Or did it in fact not decline but simply branch off into so many specific movements (feminism, environmentalism, anti-nukes, etc.) that one can’t speak of “the New Left” anymore? “