Facebook Pixel WKU History Department - Civil War and Its Legacies Lecture | Western Kentucky University Skip to main content

WKU History Department - Civil War and Its Legacies Lecture

The Civil War and Its Legacies Annual Lecture

NOTE: This event has been cancelled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus.

"Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America"

Dr. Martha S. Jones

Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor

Dept. of History, Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, April 9, 2020, 7:00, Ogden Auditorium

This is a swipeable event. 

Sponsored by the Department of History and the Institute for Civil War Studies

Contact Tony Harkins at Anthony.harkins@wku.edu for more information or copies of the event poster.

Dr. Jones recovers the story of how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans. Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. In response, African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. Drawing on fresh archival sources and offering an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Dr. Jones shows how black Americans' aspirations were realized as the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright citizenship principle.

Dr. Jones will also speak to students in the “American Women’s History” and “America in the Age of Jackson” History classes.

2020 Civil War and Its Legacies Lecture


The Civil War and Its Legacies Annual Lecture

This is a new lecture series sponsored by the Institute for Civil War Studies; for more information please contact Dr. Glenn LaFantasie, at glenn.lafantasie@wku.edu.


 Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 3/12/20