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The purpose of this assignment is to:

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• Highlight African American literary figures who have influenced African American life and culture. 

• Introduce students to the use of reliable reference sources.

• Foster critical thinking skills as students review one another’s work.

• Encourage interaction among students as they review and edit one another’s work.

Instructions for Creating a Page (Module/Week 4)

For the first part of this assignment, you will choose a person from the list provided, use reliable reference sources to compile a short biographical sketch (2 paragraphs) for that person, and post your work to the Biographical Wiki. You need to address the background of the author, his/her contributions to the field of literature and his/her influence on African American culture.

Step 1: Choose a person from the list below and create a page in the Biographical Wiki. Check to make sure the person you selected has not already been posted to the wiki by another student.

List of historical figures for Step 1: Women in Western Civilization 

1. James Baldwin

2. Toni Morrison

3. Claude McKay

4. Zora Neale Hurston

5. Maya Angelou

6. W. E. B. DuBois

7. Ralph Ellison

8. Alex Haley

9. Langston Hughes

10. Richard Wright

11. Alice Walker

12. August Wilson

13. James Weldon Johnson

14. Jessie Redmon Fauset

15. Joseph Seamon Cotter

16. Countee Cullen

17. Alain Locke

18. Octavia Butler

19. Lorraine Hansberry

20. Gwendolyn Brooks

21. Henry Louis Gates Jr.

22. Colson Whitehead

23. Dorothy West

24. Paul Beatty

25. Paul Dunbar

26. Amiri Baraka

27. Alice Childress

28. Phillis Wheatley

29. Rita Dove

30. Nikki Giovanni

31. Terry McMillan

32. Robert Hayden


Step 2: Research the person using reliable reference sources. (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) and works of historical scholarship (peer-reviewed journal articles, essay collections, historical monographs). Do not use an open web search, popular magazines, or works targeting children. Do not use the course text as a source for this assignment.

Use at least 3 different reference works and provide source citations for each source used.

Reference sources for Step 2:

The best reference sources are available in Liberty’s library. The following are recommended for this assignment.

Britannica Academic Edition—essentially an encyclopedia, but with links to dictionaries and websites. Be sure to correctly identify and cite the specific source used.

Gale Virtual Reference Library—a database collection of reference works. Look for titles that include the word encyclopedia or dictionary. If you use this database, remember to cite the specific reference work (ebook) used.

Oxford Reference Online Premium—an extensive database collection of reference works. Look for titles that include the word encyclopedia or dictionary. If you use this database, remember to cite the specific reference work (ebook) used.

Step 3: Synthesize the information you have gathered into a single, concise biographical sketch. Give a short summary of the person’s life and most significant achievements and situate the person in the historical context as it relates to this course. Write two paragraphs using complete sentences. The best biographical sketches will be 200–250 words. Remember that this is a short summary, not a research paper. Write only in your own words. Do not copy and do not quote from other sources. 

Type your work into the wiki page which you have created for the course. Include a list of the reference sources used. For books, essays, and journal articles, include a full bibliographic entry properly formatted in APA formatting. See the APA Quick Guide listed in the Course Content Module for citing sources.

Be sure to use clear, concise sentences assembled into coherent, unified paragraphs. Proofread carefully to prevent grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation errors. Use a professional tone free from colloquial expressions and idioms. Consult the Writing Tips to identify and eliminate common mistakes.

Post the initial page (Wiki: Create a Page) no later than 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 4.


The Wiki Page will be graded based on the appropriate use of sources, the extent to which the definition is thorough and accurate, and the quality of writing.