AP English 3B Seward January 26, 2012
AP Language Persuasive Essay Prompt - Is Malcolm one of the Talented Tenth?
Malcolm Little has had a rough ride. Orphaned as a young teen, Malcolm lives with a
foster family and attends Fishtown High School where he is the only African American
student. Although Malcolm’s grades are among the highest in his class, he receives no
support or encouragement to pursue any sort of higher education, and, in fact, was
recently encouraged by his AP Language teacher to become … a dishwasher at the local
country club instead of pursuing the legal career of his dreams.
Malcolm’s high school principal, Paul Krugman, sees Malcolm’s true potential. In fact,
Mr. Krugman has just contacted his congressperson, Libby Davenport, to encourage
Congresswoman Davenport to push through the “By Any Means Necessary” bill, which
would provide a free college education to any low-income student graduating in the top
five percent of his graduating class in Malcolm’s state of Michigan. If this bill becomes a
law, Malcolm, by dint of his exalted academic standing, will gain admittance and tuition
to Michigan State – a free ride for four years. Congressman Charles Murray objects to
this bill on the grounds that Malcolm’s admittance to Michigan State may preclude the
admission of other qualified candidates, candidates1 who may also reside in the top five
percent of their graduating classes, but who are affluent and who may attend, for
example, prestigious public high schools such as Belmont High School.
In a well-written essay, please argue, defend, or qualify the following statement: “It is
imperative that the state provide funds and college opportunities to low income students
who graduate at the top of their high school class in order to level America’s field of
opportunity and restore America as a meritocracy.”
Please include in your essay, inter alia: (i) a clear thesis; (ii) a concession and rebuttal;
(iii) outside ideas and sources.
Name the rhetorical device directly preceding this footnote. ___________________