In light of the critical events and national debates over the past year about race, rights, and equality, the National Constitution Center hosts a discussion exploring the question: “Do we need a third Reconstruction?” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; professor Wilfred Codrington III of Brooklyn Law School; political scientist William Allen; and professor Kurt Lash of the University of Richmond School of Law and author of a new two-volume series, The Reconstruction Amendments, explore the history of Reconstruction and its legacy, the civil rights movement and constitutional change, and whether or not America needs a third era of Reconstruction. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates.
This program is presented with support from Citizens.
Sherrilyn Ifill is the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Ifill began her career as a Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union, before joining the staff of the LDF as an Assistant Counsel in 1988, where she litigated voting rights cases for five years. She later taught civil procedure and constitutional law at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore for 20 years, before returning to the LDF.
Wilfred Codrington III is an assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and a Brennan Center fellow. Codrington previously taught graduate and undergraduate courses at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, and was a Fieldwork Supervisor for the Brennan Center Advocacy Clinic at NYU Law School. He is also the coauthor of a forthcoming book, The People’s Constitution.
William Allen is Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science and Emeritus Dean, James Madison College, at Michigan State University. He also currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, in Washington, D.C. He previously served on United States National Council for the Humanities and as Chairman and Member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He is the author or editor of several books, including George Washington: America's First Progressive.
Kurt Lash is E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Chair in Law and founder and director of the Richmond Program on the American Constitution at the University of Richmond School of Law. Lash has published widely on the subjects of constitutional history, theory and law, including the new, two-volume series, The Reconstruction Amendments. Lash also serves on the advisory committee for the Reconstruction Amendments exhibit at the National Constitution Center.
Jeffrey Rosen is the president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about the U.S. Constitution. Rosen is also professor of law at The George Washington University Law School and a contributing editor of The Atlantic.
- Wilfred Codrington III, The Atlantic, "The United States Needs a Third Reconstruction"
- Kate Masur, Until Justice Be Done
- Petition of Prince Hall to the Massachusetts General Court (1788)
- National Constitution Center, Interactive Constitution, 14th Amendment Enforcement Clause
- Richard Gergel, Unexampled Courage: The Blinding of Sgt. Isaac Woodard and the Awakening of President Harry S. Truman and Judge J. Waties Waring
- Kurt Lash, The Reconstruction Amendments: Essential Documents, Vol. I
- Kurt Lash, The Reconstruction Amendments: Essential Documents, Vol. II
- National Constitution Center, The Drafting Table, Original Drafts of the Reconstruction Amendments
- Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
- Loving v. Virginia (1967)
- 117th Congress, H.R. 1 - For the People Act of 2021
- 116th Congress, S.4263 - John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
- 116th Congress, H.R.7120 - George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020
- Sherrilyn Ifill, Slate, "How to Change Policing in America"
- Wilfred Codrington III, The Atlantic, “The Electoral College’s Racist Origins”
- William Allen, “Happiness the End; Consent the Foundation; Character the Means,” in When In the Course of Human Events: 1776 at Home, Abroad, and in American Memory
- William Allen, Original Intent, “Best Friends: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution”
- Sherrilyn Ifill, The Washington Post, “Opinion: Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t know his civil rights history"
- Rayford Logan, The Negro In American Life And Thought; The Nadir, 1877-1901
- Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
- Frederick Douglass, “The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery?” (1860)
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