Priliminary Topic Choosing

Topic 4 Comments »

My first thoughts about the topic on which I want to do research are that it should be on James Farmer since he is a great civil rights leader that I do not know a whole lot about. I have read John Lewis’ autobiography, Walking With the Wind, but, other than the various secondary and tertiary sources about the civil rights movement that I have viewed or read, I have not done a lot of indepth study of the civil rights movement in general much less of James Farmer, who was actually a UMW professor for an extended period of time. Therefore that is my topic.

Unfortunately, after emailing Professor McClurken and doing the readings for class, that is not my topic, but an amateur’s imitation of a topic. As a result, my topic so far as been refined to being the question How and Why did James Farmer found the Congress of Racial Equality? My plan right now is to either wait until after the picking a topic class in order to refine further my topic or email Professor McClurken for further guidance or approval. I am not quite sure at the moment what to do.

Why am I a history major?

Pontificating Comments Off on Why am I a history major?

I like stories and learning the origins of things and concepts. While I was growing up, I did not like to read fiction since I never was quite satisfied with the way with which the books ended. As a result, I started reading the biographies of famous people and began to take an interest in everything that was historical in nature. Ever since then, I have always had an interest in history that I have satisfied through watching history documentaries, visiting museums, and reading history books. In middle and high school, I was very good at history and I have done well in all of the college history courses that I have taken as well. Whenever I start a new task, job, or school, I always seem to manage to study the history of where I am or what I am doing. It is simply one of the quirks of what I do.

I am a history major because I love history and because I believe in the need for the knowledge of history. Knowing history allows one to make better-informed decisions. Instead of learning through trial and error and suffering the consequences, learning and learning from history allows for the efficient use of abstract thinking. There are an amazing number of similarities between the people of past civilizations and our current one. Finding more incisive understandings of what they did and how they thought can help us understand who we are and some of the struggles that we go through as well as what lies ahead for our civilization. Knowing how something occurred in the past is actually an integral part of our thinking since memory is used in the process of solving puzzles and the finding of solutions to everyday problems. In this sense, the study of history is simply the improvement and further development of one’s problem solving ability. This line of reasoning is the reason why I would like to become a historian. To me, being a historian has a sort of glow and wisdom that would come after many years of long and hard study. When I think of historians, I think of very prestigious figures such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Cornell West, and John Hope Franklin Jr., people who became such authorities on history that they were able to shape history itself. Becoming a history major to me is one step in the direction of being able to walk and talk in the same buildings as such great individuals.


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