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For this assignment, your task is to investigate and reflect on the legacy of Soul Train, one of the most influential musical programs to air on American television in the last 50 years.
STEP ONE: ASSIGNED READING
Before you develop your own line of inquiry about Soul Train, you are expected to read the following articles, all of which provide useful context for understanding the show’s history:
Delmont, Matthew F. “Dancing Around the ‘Glaring Light of Television’: Black Teen Dance Shows in the South.” Southern Spaces, 29 Sep. 2015, https://southernspaces.org/2015/dancing-around-glaring-light-television-black-teen-dance-shows-south/.
Delmont, Matthew F. “The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Philadelphia.” Nicest Kids in Town, University of California Press, 26 Nov. 2017, http://nicestkids.com/nehvectors/nicest-kids/index.
Ralph, Laurence. “Love, Peace and Soul.” Transition, no. 18 (2012), pp. 19-31, https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/lauralph/files/lovepeace_and_soul.pdf.
Wald, Gayle. “The Last Days of ‘Soul!’: Why a Trailblazing Show About Black Issues Couldn’t Last.” Current, American University School of Communication, 22 July 2015, https://current.org/2015/07/the-last-days-of-soul-why-a-trailblazing-show-about-black-issues-couldnt-last/.
STEP TWO: DEVELOPING YOUR TOPIC
After reading the articles listed above, your next task is to develop your own topic about Soul Train. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Where Soul Train fits into the history of Black performance on American television
How Soul Train compares with programs such as Soul! and the Teenarama Dance Party
How Don Cornelius advanced the Civil Rights movement through Soul Train
Why Soul Train was most influential in the 1970s
How Soul Train helped shape the culture of disco in the 1970s
How Soul Train helped shape the culture of hip-hop in the 1970s and 1980s
You are not limited to this list! If you decide to create your own topic, I encourage you to run it by me first to ensure that there’s enough literature to support your research.
STEP THREE: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
In the third stage of the project, you’ll want to find additional sources to support your topic. Those resources can include:
Documentaries produced by major media outlets and/or released commercially through platforms such as Netflix and Hulu (translation: no documentaries by YouTube randos!)
Ebooks
JSTOR articles
Newspaper and magazine articles
Podcasts produced by major media outlets (e.g. National Public Radio, CNN, The New York Times)
Recordings of the show or the Soul Train Awards (YouTube is helpful for tracking them down)
You must find at least four additional sources, the majority of which are print. This stage is due in Week 6. Please refer to the annotated bibliography assignment for more detail.
STEP FOUR: WRITE THE PAPER
This stage is due in Week 12. Please refer to the term paper assignment for more detail.

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