Date Question Grade Criteria
Jan. 4
In your opinion, what is the most significant factor that contributed to the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott?  Offer a brief justification for your answer.

A

Responses that explicitly discussed the organizational or strategic measures taken by the organizers that made it a success.  Among the aspects of the movement that were included in these discussions were the role of the church, the use of taxis and car pools, the economic impact of the boycott on the bus company, and the ways the organizers communicated with black citizens in Montgomery.

B

Responses that alluded to the dedication and courage of blacks in Montgomery, but failed to be explicit about  the organizational details mentioned above.

D

Responses that discussed an event other than the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Jan. 5

In class yesterday, we discussed how skilled civil rights activists were in building upon the strengths and responding to the weaknesses of the previous campaign.  How did the organizers of the Birmingham campaign do that?  Or, to put it slightly differently, what do you think was the most important innovation of that campaign?

A

Responses that discussed at least one of the following: the use of children in the Birmingham campaign, something that had not been attempted before; the fact that the Birmingham effort included boycotts, marches, sit-ins, and demonstrations; or the complex degree to which the marches were organized, with some groups acting as decoys to draw the police away from the areas where the most important protests were to take place.

B

A response that discussed a tactic used by the Birmingham organizers, but that was not necessarily an innovation of that campaign.

C

A response that described the Birmingham campaign, but in general terms.

D

A response that failed to provide evidence of having done the assigned reading.
Jan. 5

Today’s assigned reading in The Informant offers important evidence of the attitudes of many local and state police officers in Alabama toward the Ku Klux Klan.  Write briefly about one relevant episode from the book and discuss what you learned from it about police and the Klan.

A

A response that referred explicitly to at least one relevant example (the incident at the Krystal Cafe, for example, or the episode at the carnival) from Chapter 3 of The Informant.  

B

A response that failed to provide specific evidence, or one that offered evidence from chapters 1 or 2.

C

A response that offered little evidence of having done the assigned reading.
Jan. 8

As the assigned chapters in Cradle of Freedom suggest, 1963 was a tumultuous year for those involved in the civil rights movement, a year that brought both exhilarating highs and devastating lows.  As you think about the events of that year, what do you see as the high and low points for the movement?

A

As we discussed in class, the most important high points of 1963 were the Birmingham Campaign, the March on Washington, and President Kennedy's famous speech on the movement.  The key low points were the murder of Medgar Evers and the Birmingham church bombing, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Satisfactory responses were those that included at least one of these highs and lows.

B

C

D

F

Jan. 11 What is the most important insight into the Selma campaign or the Alabama state court system that you gained as a result of reading The Informant?

A

A response that included a reasonable, thoughtful insight that was not available through the other books we have read in this course.

B

A response that included a legitimate insight, but one that was present in the other books assigned in the course.
Jan. 11

Think about the rather spirited discussion we had in class yesterday about whether the policies of the current administration represent a appropriate balance between freedom (protecting the constitutional rights of individual citizens) and security (preventing another terrorist attack.  How does the story of the FBI and Tommy Rowe, told in The Informant, influence your thinking on this important issue?  Please try to be specific, taking into account Gary May’s conclusions in your response.

A

A response that reflected thoughtful, mature thinking about the issue of freedom v. security and that explicitly discussed how The Informant relates to that issue.

B

A response that failed to be explicit about how The Informant contributed to your thinking about this issue.
Jan. 12 Written questions for Mr. Chuck Fager on his book, Eating Dr. King's Dinner.

A

Questions that built upon the book by asking Mr. Fager to probe an issue or concept mentioned in Eating Dr. King's Dinner more deeply.

B

Questions that were legitimate and thoughtful, but that did not refer directly to an important issue from the book.

C

Questions that were not particularly thoughtful or that would not lead to a deeper understanding of the movement.