Essay Excerpts from

Year One Seminar: American Citizenship

(from summer of 2016)

by Paiton Mangrum

Sojourner Scholar, class of 2019


Throughout the Sojourner Summer Scholars program, we’ve read plenty of entertaining and factual readings.  All of them were based upon the same topic.  Citizenship.  I had no particular favorite reading because I loved them all, although, for some reason, “The Potawatomi story” changed my understanding of citizenship.  It changed my understanding of citizenship because even though the Earth maker made a “mistake." he did not get rid of the people. This makes me think of citizenship as a more caring concept than the modern day definition indicates. 

by Ru'Gia Jones

Sojourner Scholar, class of 2019

During my two weeks in the summer program, my understanding of citizenship didn't change, but it expanded rapidly. Citizen by Claudia Rankine opened my eyes to citizenship because its point of view allowed me to actually put myself in each person's position. Although I already knew much about citizenship, this book enlarged my thinking.



Over time, American ideas of citizenship change. African-Americans were accepted as citizens, but still treated differently. Even though they were citizens, they were still excluded from rights like voting. This shows that being an American citizen doesn't mean being treated equally. Citizenship is here, but equality isn't.