• Video
  • April 29, 2021

Do We Need a Third Reconstruction?

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 AmendmentsLash 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.

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