Reconstuction’s Legacy


The History and Contemporary Significance of the 14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment, enacted in 1868, was designed to secure the freedom of former enslaved Africans and African Americans by guaranteeing them the basic rights of citizenship and insuring equality before the law. It was the cornerstone of Reconstruction, became the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement, and has been central to the expansion of full constitutional rights and protection for all American citizens.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment, this two-day symposium will bring leading legal scholars and historians together to discuss the Amendment’s relevance in today’s world.

Welcome and Keynote

Thursday, April 19 | 6 – 8 p.m. | Chappelle Auditorium at Allen University

The symposium will open on Thursday evening, April 19, at Allen University’s Chappelle Auditorium with a keynote address by Randall Kennedy on the history of the 14th Amendment.

Dr. Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School, is a prominent legal scholar, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Dr. Kennedy’s father and uncle, residents of the Waverly Neighborhood, were often in the audience when Marshall spoke at Chappelle, making this a fitting homecoming.

Historic Columbia and the University of South Carolina’s History Center will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment with a public symposium on Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20. Leading legal scholars and historians will participate in the symposium, which will provide a public forum for discussing the Amendment’s relevance in today’s world and reflect on what it means to be a United States citizen.


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