One of the most valuable elements of reading is talking about reading! The One Book One Campus committee worked with Dr. Emily Baldys and Jessie Garrison to develop the following discussion questions that can be adapted and modified to fit situational needs. This can also be accessed on the Resources page.
Effia & Essi (pp. 1-49)
In Essi’s chapter we learn that Maame, Effie and Essie’s mother had many pieces of her spirit missing. Consider the experiences that make you, as a student, less than whole.
Another theme found in this chapter is family relationships. As a student how does your family relationships affect your ability to succeed as a student? Do peer/peer relationships affect success among college students?
In the chapter there is differences between Effia’s values and her husband James’ values. In what ways does Millersville students have different values? Similar values? Do the differences between values affect the Millersville community as a whole? Do the differences in values affect separate communities?
Maame’s definition of strength is “knowing everyone belongs to themselves” (38). What is your definition of strength? Does the Millersville community help grow your strengths? What tools do you use at Millersville to help yourself grow?
Quey & Ness (pp. 50-87)
Quey, the son of Effia and James, often discussed his struggles on finding an environment where he felt like he “belonged, fully and completely” (57). While Quey finds his sense of belonging through the chapter, how can students at Millersville find their sense of belonging? Is it different for traditional and nontraditional students; commuters and students living on campus?
Quey’s definition of strength is determining “he would not be weak. He was in the business of slavery, and sacrifices had to be made” (69). What do students have to sacrifice to go to college? Are the sacrifices different for not traditional students, parents, not typical college age, transfers? How does Quey’s definition of strength differ from Maame? Does the different definitions effect your response?
In Ness’ chapter there are characters, Esi and Sam, who refuse to speak English while others, Pinky, refuse to speak entirely. How does this affect the relationship between the characters? How does language barriers affect relationships between students on campus?
Ness feels that her scarred skin is “more like the ghost of the past” (4). How do students hide their own ghosts to fit in on campus?
James & Kojo (pp.88-132)
In Kojo first learns about the Fugitive Slave Act, he does not believe it can affect him or his family. What changes on campus has affected you in ways you didn’t think were possible?
In another part of Kojo’s chapter, he teaches his children to show their “free” papers to federal marshals if stopped on the streets. Kojo taught his children to show their papers “without any backtalk, always silently” (125). With the increase in ICE raids throughout the country, how would this tactic affect the Millersville community? If ICE came to campus how would it disrupt the campus? Would it be for the long run or just in the moment?
James’ father Quey feels as if Christianity is for the British and it does not meet his values of his own customs. How does the diversity of different religions enhance Millersville’s campus? How would campus be different without the diversity? How has previous racial remarks on campus affected diversity on campus?
Abena & H (pp. 133-176)
During Abena’s section, there is a village meeting regarding the slave trade. James insists that there is shared responsibility in slavery and that the blame should not just go on the British and Dutch. How does this relate to student’s responsibility in creating an inclusive campus?
Abena also has a relationship with Ohene Nyarko in this section. Consider how the betrayal affects Abena’s everyday life, how can students at Millersville help their peers during unhealthy relationships? What resources are available on campus to assist those in unhealthy relationships?
H was arrested in his section. How does incarceration affect Millersville students’ ability to succeed?
Akua & Willie (pp. 177-221)
Akua begins to have anxiety dreams about a firewoman. How does anxiety and other mental illnesses affect the Millersville community? How does these illnesses affect the minority groups on campus differently than the non-minority groups? What resources are available to students?
Willie’s chapter is set in an urban town in the NorthEastern United States. During this time, Willie and Robert can note on the inequalities that are still present in the north. When moving to Millersville University, what inequalities might a person of color face when they come to the more conservative Lancaster? As a community, what can we do to combat these inequalities?
In Willie’s chapter, the reader can find Willie singing. In what ways can Millersville include music and art from other cultures to promote diversity and inclusion?
Yaw & Sonny (pp. 222-263)
Yaw argues that “history is storytelling” and “when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing” (225)? On Millersville’s campus what is the student body/professors missing? How can the students and professors hear the whole story?
In the story Sonny goes to jail, what influences, political and personal, lead him to jail, an absent father, and addiction? What affects students on Millersville’s campus to make the same choices? What resources are available? Is the political factors for minorities and nonminority different?
Marjorie & Marcus (pp. 264-300)
Marjorie and Marcus also feel like they do not belong. Marcus, specifically, “searches for answers” (290). In what ways does minority and nontraditional students have to work harder to “fit in” on Millersville’s campus?
Marcus also explains that his ancestors “had been products of their time” (296). In what ways does Millersville’s students’ ancestors affect the behavior of the campus?