Social Justice Movements in American History

Purpose:  The purpose of this project is for students to complete a research project which combines historical research about a social justice movement in American history with knowledge of current social issues.

Knowledge:  Students will learn about the historical basis of a social justice movement that exists in the present day. 


Through the completion of this project, students will acquire the following skills: 

  1. Identifying an academic vs. a non-academic source.
  2. Locating information contained within academic sources.
  3. Composing an original thesis as the basis of your writing assignment.
  4. Formatting an essay according to APA format.
  5. Writing a research paper to support your thesis.


  1. Identify a social justice movement that began prior to 1877.  Examples include but are not    limited to:  African-American rights, women’s rights, institutional reform, early labor.
  • Conduct background research on your movement.  This is where you gather more information about your movement, narrow down your focus and choose the sources that you will use for your research.  You must use a minimum of 5 academic sources.  Examples of academic sources include the following:  books, academic journal articles, websites (reputable websites typical end in .org or .edu), newspaper articles, magazine articles, documentary films, and interviews.  AS the purpose of this project is to gain experience on college-level academic research, encyclopedia articles should be avoided.  Under no circumstances should wiki sources be used (these are not peer reviewed)!  If you have questions about whether or not you have chosen an academic source, please consult with the professor. 
  • Compose a thesis statement.  Make an argument about the social movement you are researching (this should address why the movement is still relevant today).
  • Create an outline for your essay (you do not need to hand this in; this is only a step in the writing process).   The outline should begin with an introduction (where you will present your thesis statement).   The first section of your essay will discuss the historical background of the social movement you have chosen (3-4 pages).  The second section of your essay will discuss current issues related to the social movement (2-3 pages).  For the final section of this project, students will write a conclusion reflecting on how their historical research enriched or affected their perspective on the movement they researched and/or discuss any contributions they may have been inspired to make to the address the present issue (1- 1.5 pages).

Write your essay.  Your essay must have an introduction, a thesis statement and include all three required sections.  It must be no fewer than 6 pages in length, with the first section having a minimum length of three pages (including introduction), the second section having a minimum length of two pages, and the final section having a minimum length of one full page.  It must also follow APA format and include a cover page and a works cited page

Type of assignment: Research paper

Subject: History

Pages: 6/1650

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