You may know what you want to write about - or at least have a starting idea. If not, or to come up with a more focused idea, try the steps below.
The databases below focus on current issues in our world. Not all of them will work for your assignment, but you will find many ideas here.
Explore. Look for topics that focus of social injustices and activism, and that interest you. See the images below for visuals.
I selected the category Society and Culture, since I thought it would give me ideas for social justice/ injustice issues. I can go back and browse for ideas through the other topic areas.
The topics are not yet connected to movements or activists, but they are a start.
I found over 200 viewpoint essays. This image captures argument essays on problems with prison overcrowding or mass incarceration, the war on drugs, depriving incarcerated individuals of their rights, including the right to vote, and the for-profit prison industry.
Note the highlighted names of organizations advocating against private prisons. I can do a quick search of each to see if they might work for my essay. I would also look for individual's names.
Type general keywords that capture what you want to focus on into your web browser.
(you are not limited to the few starting links below!)
A search of the terms: environmental justice issues AND activists OR activism returned articles on current activists and organizations.
The first return was the article "Four Environmental Justice Champions You Should Know." The activists might be too unknown to work for my assignment, but I'm going to read the article to find out. I find an interview with each of the activists in which they talk about what drove them to become activists for environmental justice and how their activism changed them. I can also research their organization to see what kind of steps they take to change the world. This sounds useful!
The image below shows one small section of the interview in which one activist says: "I learned there was language and terminology behind my experiences, and a policy impact. I started to see that there could be a different purpose for me." This about how this ties in to Douglass and Malcolm X.
Your first essay asks you to write about a Social Justice Movement or Activist that embodies the mindset, or theme, you identified in Frederick Douglass' "Learning to Read and Write" and Malcolm X's "A Homemade Education." You will then tie that recurring mindset to an issue in your own life.
To find a social justice movement or activist that embodies a specific mindset requires you to spend some time exploring topic ideas, skimming through sources to see if they reflect your central theme, and thinking about what you find as you go. You will look through far more sources than you will use in your essay, but the idea is that research is a process that requires "pre-search" as we figure out what we want to write about.