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Your major essay assignment of this semester involves explaining and taking a position on the
information that Michelle Alexander presents in her book, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the
Age of Colorblindness. Your essay must be a minimum of 4 double-spaced pages (Times New Roman, 12point font size) and address the prompt below.
Carefully reread the excerpts we have examined from Chapters 1-6 in The New Jim Crow and prepare
yourself to use information from those chapters and the textbook to help you support your own
After reading excerpts from The New Jim Crow, write an essay that describes the problem of mass
incarceration and explains its significance within the historical context of race in America. Clarify your
explanation with evidence from the text and discuss implications for contemporary society.
Your essay should include a thesis statement in which you interpret the information presented in The
New Jim Crow and take a position on the issue of mass incarceration. Support your thesis by discussing
specific examples and facts that are presented in the text.
All in all, your essay will include a combination of your own ideas, analysis, observations, and examples
as they relate to The New Jim Crow, your textbook, and other scholarly resources.
Your final draft will be graded on the following criteria:
1) An insightful thesis statement that clearly reveals your position on the significance of mass
incarceration within the historical and contemporary context of race in America.
2) Accurate use of information (examples, details/specifics, quotes, etc.) from Chapters 1-6 in The
New Jim Crow, your textbook, and other scholarly sources to support your ideas and opinions.
3) Thoughtful, sophisticated analysis and discussion of the details youve included from The New
Jim Crow (Show your own insight and ideas! Do NOT simply repeat and retell what Alexander
has already stated in her book.)
4) Unity (Information, ideas, analysis, explanations and so forth must stay focused on supporting
your thesis.)
5) Coherence (Use strong connections to link ideas between your paragraphs and within your
6) Organization (Ideas must follow a logical organizational pattern. Do not jump around from one
idea to the next. Have a clear, logical progression in your thoughts. Outlining/prewriting will
help here.)
7) Clarity and presentation (Crisp and clear word usage, sentences, logic, format, structure and so

8) Proofreading, editing, correctness, and sentence sophistication (Correct spelling, punctuation,
and grammar, as well as varied and sophisticated sentence structuresget help from me or
another teacher outside of class! Final drafts should be error-free.)
9) Accurate in-text citations and formatting of quoted material and a Works Cited page using MLA
standards. You must use at least 4 sources for this essay (e.g. Alexanders text, the textbook,
and two other scholarly texts of your choice.)
10) An original and creative title for your essay.