Write a 3 full pages double-spaced essay that answers this question:


Do American citizens have an obligation to be politically active in times of injustice?

Here is the reading you MUST USE in your essay


If your answer is yes:

  • Use quotes and paraphrases from Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to support your thesis.
  • You can also use any other sources you like.
  • Make sure to cite them on your Works Cited page.

If your answer is no:

You may have to find other sources to support your assertions, but you may be able to use some quotes and paraphrases from Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” if only to disagree with it or respond to it.

Keep in mind that there is no right answer; you are not being graded on your political stance/ position/ opinion, but whether or not you support your argument.

SOURCE MATERIAL: “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King


  1. Make sure that your essay has an introduction, conclusion, and topic sentences for body paragraphs. These concepts are addressed in modules and in The West Guide. In this essay, your thesis is your answer to the prompt. Everything else in the essay (your topic sentences, and the examples you choose) should be organized around that.
  1. Use examples from the text in the form of paraphrases and quotes from the book to support your assertions. At the end of every sentence in which you use a quote, put a page citation like so (56)–unless, as I told you in class, you already worked the page number into the sentence, or, you are quoting from a source with no page number.
  2. Essay uses multiple forms evidence from sources

  3. Essay has a discernible thesis statement upon which the essay is structured. Thesis statement is not too wide, not too narrow, and not an announcement.

    Essay has Works Cited page in MLA format.

  4. Essay has substantive introduction [which includes thesis], conclusion, and body paragraphs with topic sentences.
  5. This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEssay is formatted properly, with one inch margins, page numbers, name/date/class/professor listed in upper-left corner, Times New Roman 12 point font, no skipped lines between paragraphs, and the first line of every paragraph indented. Essay is required length.
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