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African American Citizenship in the Civil War Era

Description: As part of Detroit Mercy's Constitution Day celebration, the Black Abolitionist Archive and Detroit Mercy Libraries will host a session looking at the troubling question of African American citizenship during the Civil War era -- a defining moment. As late as 1857, the Supreme Court said blacks could not be American citizens. But the war changed things. In 1868, the nation ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, which forever acknowledged black citizenship. Since that time, the trajectory of the fight for civil rights has followed the words and promise of that amendment. That’s what Martin Luther King meant when he told America during the March on Washington in 1963 that the marchers had come to collect payment on “a promissory note.”

Dr. Roy E. Finkenbine, Professor of History and Director of the Black Abolitionist Archive, will discuss how ideas about black citizenship changed during this tumultuous time – and what it means for us today.

2017 is the 160th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision, which defined African Americans as non-citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment is the corrective to that decision, which is often labeled
Location: Presidents Dining Room-Student Center
Date: Monday, September 18, 2017
Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
Duration: 1 hour
Priority: 5-Medium
Access: Public
Created by: University_Services
Updated: Friday, September 8, 2017 12:56pm GMT