“Citizenship Before Birthright: The Puzzle of Free African Americans Prior to the 14th Amendment”
Questions surrounding US citizenship have long been (and continue to be) contentious. In her talk, Martha Jones will explore the history of citizenship in the U.S. in the era before the 14th Amendment, when free African Americans generated a pointed set of questions about who could be a citizen and what rights attached to them. By examining the proceedings of local courthouses, Jones will show how black Americans managed to secure civil rights despite doubts about their entitlement to do so.
Created by sshenk