protest speech)

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Important point: I want the form as speech. I don’t have too many requirements to content, but the content must based on the requirement below.

Setup: At its most basic, this class presented us the opportunity to engage, unpack, and complicate the ways in which art and popular culture emerge as tools of protest and as means to construct dissent in American history. For example, in connecting how the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance exposed the violence of Jim Crow while celebrating black culture, or how Kerouac sought a vision of society based on charity/compassion and not materialism and consumption, we witness artists who engage their work with purpose, with a desire to help readers and audiences wade through the motifs and modes of thinking that lead to the (often violent) denial of natural rights for those American citizens deemed “other,” “outsider,” or “un-American.”
With all that we have studied, however, issues of discriminatory prejudice, oppressive intolerance, and cruel bigotry remain, forcing all of us to reconcile with America’s capacity to fully understand and act on the challenge posed to us by the good doctor: An “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” (Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.)

Backdrop: Thinking specifically of King’s challenge, this assignment asks that you construct a manifesto aimed at exposing and deconstructing current expressions of injustice OR a manifesto that offers an alternative/affirmative vision of American society predicated on a full realization of the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (part of your manifesto might include defining what these rights indicate). Your manifesto, then, should seek to both locate a meaning of/for natural rights and the reasons to pursue a more free, equal, and tolerant world.

Project: Ultimately, given the diversity of material we have engaged together—from novels, to poetry, to movies, to images—the nature/makeup/purpose of your manifesto is up to you. You may choose to construct a short story or play; write a poem; produce a work of visual art or music; construct a PPT; or write a speech, essay, or letter a la MLK’s Birmingham letter. Do not think of this as a traditional paper/essay in which you are advocating for social justice by citing material, but rather an expression of such advocacy through more creative means; a way, in other words, to help others understand the emotional weight and harsh realities contingent to the movement/type of protest under consideration.
Regardless of the structure, you must advocate—in an original and critical way—the importance and maintenance of natural rights in the contemporary United States. This is NOT about making an argument in favor of making supreme one identity; rather, it is asking you to draw creatively from the ideas and themes presented by our authors to synthesize your own expression of protest or dissent.
You may choose to establish your manifesto around a traditional American value/right (e.g. freedom of religion or gun rights), a movement (e.g. LGBTQIA+ rights), or around an issue (e.g. true universal health care or free education); in all cases, however, you must position your subject within the perspective of universal natural rights. The Port Huron Statement will provide you with the most direct example of a traditional manifesto based on American ideals and natural rights. Within the frames of this class and project, however, a manifesto will be considered any expression aimed at advancing issues of rights and justice within the American context.
Your project does not have to be overtly serious, but can draw from the expressive and creative openness of art to help raise awareness. As you will see, humor & comedic juxtaposition were used throughout the 1960s to help expose the root violence and selfishness that made freedom & equality ideals, rather than realities, in America.

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