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Civil War and Reconstruction Programs

In conjunction with the opening of the new permanent exhibit, Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality, and the ongoing commemorations of the 150th anniversaries of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction period, the National Constitution Center will offer various onsite educational programs to engage visitors of all ages with this pivotal era in constitutional history.

The onsite experience will introduce visitors to central topics, including slavery in the Constitution, the Civil War and the role of the federal government, citizenship, the goals of Reconstruction and its successes and failures, key figures of the era, and the legacy of Reconstruction today.

Visitors will:

 

Exhibit Gallery Talk
Main Lobby/Feature Gallery, available daily during regular museum hours

National Constitution Center museum educators will introduce visitors to key concepts presented throughout Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality. The goals of the gallery talk are to introduce visitors to the fundamental concepts to look for when exploring the Civil War and Reconstruction exhibit, including slavery in the Constitution, citizenship, and the goals of Reconstruction.

Exhibit Tour
Feature Gallery, booked based on availability and advanced reservations required
The Center will offer guided tours of Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality, presented by museum educators. The tour will explore American society prior to the Civil War, the events that led to the war, and the challenges, successes, and failures of the Reconstruction period. Visitors will learn more about this tumultuous period in American history as they take a look at several of the unique artifacts and documents on display at the Center.
 

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: The Great Problem to be Solved
Feature Gallery, two times an hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, May 9 through Memorial Day Weekend 2019, and available on select dates throughout fall of 2019 and in February 2020

As visitors explore Civil War and Reconstruction, they will encounter a one-actor performance in the 14th Amendment section of the exhibit highlighting Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a key African-American figure from the Reconstruction era. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a staunch abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, writer, and public speaker, speaks out in this 1875 address to the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, outlining the work yet to be done in the cause for African-American freedom. This performance is produced by the National Constitution Center, directed by Walter DeShields, performed by Nastassja Baset Whitman, and designed by Tara Webb and Sara Outing. This production has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

FOURTEEN: A Theatrical Performance
Bank of America Theater, two times a day June 20 – June 26, four times a day June 27 – August 10, and available in fall 2019 and spring 2020.

For a limited production run beginning on June 19 (Juneteenth)—the holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the Confederate States of America—visitors can experience FOURTEEN, a moving theatrical performance that sheds new light on the Reconstruction era and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. Through dramatic interpretation of original texts, such as Frederick Douglass’s open letter “To My Old Master,” the 30-minute performance will bring to life the leaders, influential figures, and everyday Americans who were central to the era. FOURTEEN: A Theatrical Performance will be performed in the Center’s Bank of America Theater—adjacent to the main exhibit space. This production has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Slavery in All But Name
Feature Gallery, feature program available on select dates

Exploring the “hard history,” this program examines how the Reconstruction efforts fell short following the passage of the 13th Amendment and how many formerly enslaved individuals later ended up incarcerated, their freedom taken away, and once again working without pay. The program will also look at contemporary issues and examine the legacy of the Reconstruction Amendments in society today.

The Road to Freedom: The Story of Slavery in America Program
Main Lobby, available daily at posted times

At this interactive program, visitors will learn about the story of slavery in America, from the period of the Constitution’s signing in 1787 up to the beginning of the American Civil War. The program will examine how the initial clauses and compromises over slavery were built into the original union and how these fractures would eventually become so wide that the nation as it had previously stood ceased to exist.

Examining the Four Harriet’s Program
Main Exhibit, available daily at posted times

Beginning in August: Visitors can explore the lives of four American women—Harriet Robinson Scott, Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe—who confronted slavery through literature, lawsuits, and direct action in their efforts to free themselves and others from bondage.

Interactive Constitution Workshops: Reconstruction Amendments
Scheduled for groups upon request

Beginning in the fall: Students will discover how to use the Center’s Interactive Constitution to explore the constitutional history and modern debates of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.

Exhibit Guide Available in the fall: There will be a printed guide to accompany the Civil War and Reconstruction onsite experience, available to all visitors.

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Contact

Thank you for your submission.

Accommodations

  More information coming soon!

FOURTEEN: A Theatrical Performance - FALL 2019

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Contact

Registration information will become available closer to the event date.

If you are interested in more information about Clerks at 100, please contact [email protected].

Press interested in additional information should contact Annie Stone at [email protected]

Schedule

Host Committee

The National Constitution Center thanks the following Supreme Court law clerks for their service on the Clerks at 100 Host Committee. These individuals clerked for a total of 23 justices over 36 terms.

Bradford Berenson

Justice Kennedy | 1992 Term

Senator Joshua Hawley

Chief Justice Roberts | 2007 Term

Erin E. Murphy

Chief Justice Roberts | 2008 Term

Ashby D. Boyle II

Justice O'Connor | 1990 Term

Chief Justice Burger | 1990 Term

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Justice Breyer | 1999 Term

Jane Nitze

Justice Gorsuch | 2016 Term

Justice Sotomayor | 2011 Term

Judge Guido Calabresi

Justice Black | 1958 Term

Jamil N. Jaffer

Justice Gorsuch | 2016 Term

Eloise Pasachoff

Justice Sotomayor | 2009 Term

Kelsi Brown Corkran

Justice Ginsburg | 2013 Term

Pamela S. Karlan

Justice Blackmun | 1985 Term

Eduardo M. Peñalver

Justice Stevens | 2000 Term

Paul D. Clement

Justice Scalia | 1993 Term

Neal K. Katyal

Justice Breyer | 1996 Term

Carter G. Phillips

Chief Justice Burger | 1978 Term

Susan M. Davies

Justice Kennedy | 1994 Term

Peter D. Keisler

Justice Kennedy | 1988 Term

Justice Kennedy | 1987 Term

Elizabeth Prelogar

Justice Kagan | 2010 Term

Justice Ginsburg | 2009 Term

Shawn Fagan

Chief Justice Rehnquist | 1995 Term

Ron Klain

Justice White | 1988 Term

Justice White | 1987 Term

Kannon K. Shanmugam

Justice Scalia | 1999 Term

D. Cameron Findlay

Justice Scalia | 1988 Term

Larry Kramer

Justice Brennan | 1985 Term

Paul M. Smith

Justice Powell | 1980 Term

Ivan K. Fong

Justice O’Connor | 1989 Term

Judge Cheryl Ann Krause

Justice Kennedy | 1994 Term

Kenneth W. Starr

Chief Justice Burger | 1975 Term

Noel J. Francisco

Justice Scalia | 1997 Term

Senator Michael S. Lee

Justice Alito | 2006 Term

Geoffrey R. Stone

Justice Brennan | 1972 Term

Julius Genachowski

Justice Souter | 1993 Term

Justice Brennan | 1992 Term

David G. Leitch

Chief Justice Rehnquist | 1986 Term

Aaron Streett

Chief Justice Rehnquist | 2003 Term

Heather Gerken

Justice Souter | 1995 Term

Lawrence Lessig

Justice Scalia | 1990 Term

Stephen D. Susman

Justice Black | 1966 Term

Elliot Gerson

Justice Stewart | 1980 Term

Jeremy C. Marwell

Justice Sotomayor | 2009 Term

Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton

Justice Scalia | 1991 Term

Justice Powell | 1991 Term

Jeannie C. Suk Gersen

Justice Souter | 2003 Term

Joshua Matz

Justice Kennedy | 2014 Term

Laurence H. Tribe

Justice Stewart | 1967 Term

Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg

Justice Marshall | 1974 Term

Deanne E. Maynard

Justice Breyer | 1994 Term

Justice Powell | 1993 Term

Justice Stevens | 1993 Term

Thiruvendran Vignarajah

Justice Breyer | 2006 Term

Abbe R. Gluck

Justice Ginsburg | 2003 Term

Christopher J. Meade

Justice Stevens | 1997 Term

Cecillia Wang

Justice Blackmun | 1996

Justice Breyer | 1996

C. Boyden Gray

Chief Justice Warren | 1968 Term

Deborah Jones Merritt

Justice O’Connor | 1981 Term

Helgi C. Walker

Justice Thomas | 1995 Term

Erin Hawley

Chief Justice Roberts | 2007 Term

Martha Minow          

Justice Marshall | 1980 Term

Judge Diane P. Wood

Justice Blackmun | 1976 Term

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