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Self presents each topic sentence in the active voice, with active verbs: in the lot.And while two of the three sentences have abstract nouns (critique and campaign) as their subjects, they are connected closely enough to a group of people—the Black Panthers—that the reader has no doubt about whose story this is. The first sentence uses the verb “began,” signaling that he is moving to a new topic, or a new chapter in his story.And, in preparation for the 1973 municipal elections, the party prepared a detailed spatial analysis of past Oakland voting patterns, exploring divisions between white and black neighborhoods on such issues as public housing and district versus at-large elections for city council, as well as about congressional and California Assembly candidates.
According to the Panthers, though, “the city gets little in return: no jobs and no access to Port income at a time when Oakland city government flirts with bankruptcy.” In fact, the party contended, “tenants get special tax privileges to lower their property tax bills, and in some instances the Port actually pays their property taxes.“ The Panthers highlighted the odd independence of the Port.
Its Board of Commissioners was appointed by the mayor, but city hall had little other official control over Port activities and revenue.
Although the party’s characterization of Oakland as a colonial outpost bordered on the fanciful and defined the outer limits of Panther discursive excesses, other “Base of Operation” critiques had more substantial merit.
The party consistently emphasized the enormous percentage of the city’s white workforce that lived outside of Oakland (more than 50 percent by some estimations), particularly the municipal police force and members of the fire department.
Party journalists wrote countless articles on the failure of federal redevelopment and urban renewal projects to provide opportunity for local residents while nearby industrial suburbs boomed with new factory and construction jobs.
In 1973, the Panthers urged a full reassessment of the city’s tax structure and advocated raising taxes on the long-sheltered downtown properties and reducing the property tax burden on small businesses and residents in the neighborhoods.Here were the familiar culprits: BART, the new freeways and federal post office, the closing of public housing projects, massive delays on West Oakland’s biggest new housing project, Acorn, and residential displacement.“BART has spent over 20 million dollars,” the newspaper cited as an example, “has literally dislocated thousands of people in West Oakland, offered few of the promised jobs to Blacks, and has the nerve to make one stop in West Oakland.” published special editions on the cost of living, public housing (exposing problems in the Oakland Housing Authority), imbalances in urban and suburban public school budgets, urban renewal, and unemployment.Note that, if you have specific questions about how to write a research paper, you should always seek advice from your professor before you begin.Specific requirements stated by your professor will always supersede instructions provided in these general guidelines.The first two paragraphs connect the Panthers’ overall program to specific concerns about Oakland, while the last connects these to the anticolonial strand of black power thinking.Thus, each topic sentence serves as a more specific version of the thesis.The party’s two-year campaign mixed its older anticolonial discourse with this new attention to local political and economic arrangements in Oakland.The first thing to notice is that strung together, the topic sentences summarize the passage as a whole.The passage presents a great deal of detail in the form of names, dates, and statistics, all of them important to Self’s argument, but the topic sentences themselves make arguments rather than stating facts.You can think of topic sentences as the labels on drawers of a filing cabinet, while the facts are the files kept neatly inside.