1619: “Citizenship,” by Martha S. Jones
The movement by Black Americans for birthright citizenship
Happy weekend! It’s been great to receive your surveys and hear feedback about the first half of our book club — things you’ve appreciated and ways to make our experience better and more transformative. If you haven’t done so already, please fill out the 1619 Halfway Survey by this upcoming Tuesday. It’ll take 3-8 minutes. Also, feel free to reach out if you want to talk in more depth.
Welcome to Week 12, everyone. Here’s our schedule.
This week, let’s read “Citizenship,” by Martha S. Jones. The essay tells the story of how Black Americans fought for birthright citizenship in our country, beginning in the Revolutionary era, gaining momentum in the 19th century, and culminating in the 14th Amendment. Prof. Jones argues that birthright citizenship “is now so foundational that many people assume citizenship in the United States has always worked this way. It has not.”
In a speech at a convention in 1853, Frederick Douglass said:
By the principles of the Declaration of Independence, we are American citizens; within the meaning of the United States Constitution, we are American citizens; by the facts of history; and the admission of American statesmen, we are American citizens; by the hardships and trials endured; by the courage and fidelity displayed by our ancestors in defending the liberties and in achieving the independence of our land, we are American citizens.
Read “Citizenship,” by Martha S. Jones.
Recommended: Ask a question that you’d like us to answer together.
Also, please feel free to reach out. Let me know if you need anything or want to chat. All you need to do is hit reply. Thank you and have a great week!