students are asked to select an individual of notoriety from Michigan/Great Lakes History and discuss their historical legacy in a relatively short essay uploaded at the end of the 7th week of the semester.
You can pick anyone who left a mark upon the history of this area. They need not be born here nor have died here nor be considered a “good guy” or a bad guy” – but their larger historical legacy was MADE here in Michigan / The Great Lakes Region – and for better or worse. You can pick anyone from the scope of our history – pre-history to modern times. They may be someone who left a positive mark or left a “bruise” upon our history. With your total freedom in mind, I think it’s up to students to select the one person that “speaks” to them – as I am of the mind that a students best work will come from a topic that they have interest within. My goal here is to get you thinking about the giants of Michigan history.
Some Names –
Walter C. Reuther
James R. Hoffa
James Earl Jones
Michael Placco (just kidding!)
Gerald Rudolph Ford
Charles E. Coughlin
Betty Bloomer Ford
Francis Ford Coppola
Betty Saunders Shabazz
Earvin Magic Johnson
Joseph Louis BarrowRalph Bunche
Berry Gordy Jr.
There are two basic parts of this assignment:
First – you are to provide a brief standard biography of your person (in your own wording). This is where you tell me about the person – born, died, accomplishments and etc. This is standard boilerplate stuff and is to NOT exceed more than 1 to 1.5 pages maximum of your overall length.
Next – the meat of the assignment – you are to provide me with a discussion of this person’s historical legacy for Michigan / The Great Lakes. This is to be the main focus of your paper – and there is no maximum length – more is better! What I mean with this section is NOT a rehashing of their life NOR an evaluation of how “awesome” they were or are – rather what I want is a discussion NOT of their life but instead a discussion of the sorts of things that happened BECAUSE of their lives. Think consequences. Because this person did X Y and Z – the following A B and C occurred. Herein lies the gist of this assignment speaking to a legacy – which, I too think, is a good universal skill to hone for all majors, programs, and interests. Of note – when you discuss the person’s specific legacy – make sure you stay objective – don’t judge them as you would a historical villain or evaluate them as you would a potential babysitter! I know we’re inclined to assess and have positions but here – hold yourself back from that and just speak objectively of the legacy. A hint: using phrases like, legacy, influence, gave rise to, inspired, modeled, flavored and so on get right to the heart of the assignment.
While there is a small need to use outside sources for just the basic information – there is NO need to go overboard with outside sourcing. What students will be primarily using here for this assignment is “common knowledge”