General subject would be AMERICAN HISTORY/RACE

For your research assignment, you will choose one of the following short stories or poems and research the historical context of the story in order to argue that the author, through the story, is relating a unique experience of living as an American. Each story has a specific historical context, and your task is to discover what the author is trying to relate to the reader about the historical experience however you and/or the author define that.

You must:

Use one of the stories below as your primary source
Research the topic using at least three secondary sources and incorporate your research into the essay
Primary Sources:(I pasted the full poem at the bottom as well)

Let America Be America Again” (Langston Hughes) —

Research your secondary sources on the specific era of American history using any and/or all of the following methods:

a. Internet
b. College Library
c. Public Libraries

Appropriate secondary sources DO NOT include book reviews, movie reviews, or student essays.

Your research project should be 4-5 pages, type-written, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font. It must be edited, proofread and spell-checked prior to being handed in. Be sure to include a Works Cited page of any references that you used in the writing of this paper. Make sure you include in-text citations for any quotes used throughout your paper. If you don’t have your writer’s handbook from your Composition class, you can find MLA formatting information on the Internet. One site that you might find helpful is

You will be assessed in this assignment on the following criteria:

· Your ability to research secondary sources on a primary source of literature.

· Your ability to write an original thesis statement regarding the author/literature, defend and support that thesis statement in a research paper, and incorporate quotes from the secondary sources into your writing.

Your ability to properly cite primary and secondary sources according to MLA style.

Let America be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean–
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today–O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home–
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay–
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose–
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

Langston Hughes