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Race, Gender, and Rights: Histories of the Practice of Democratic Citizenship

October 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? The Constitution does not define who gets to be a citizen, or what citizenship means. Rather, citizenship has been defined over time, often through struggle and activism by people who were denied the full rights of citizenship. The Clements Library in partnership with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences will host a virtual panel discussion featuring Derrick Spires of Cornell University and Martha Jones of Johns Hopkins University. The conversation will be moderated by Ben Vinson III, Provost of Case Western Reserve University.

What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? The Constitution does not define who gets to be a citizen, or what citizenship means. Rather, citizenship has been defined over time, often through struggle and activism by people who were denied the full rights of citizenship.

The Clements Library in partnership with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences will host a virtual panel discussion featuring Derrick Spires (author of The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States) and Martha Jones (author of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America and Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All). The conversation will be moderated by Ben Vinson III, Provost of Case Western Reserve University. 

“Burning the Mortgage of the Phyllis Wheatley Home.” Taken January 4, 1915 by African American photographer Harvey Cook Jackson. The Phyllis Wheatley Home in Detroit was a boarding house established in 1897 for African American women to help improve their status in American society. David V. Tinder Collection, U-M Clements Library. 

Derrick R. Spires is Associate Professor of English at Cornell University. He is an author and scholar of African American and American literature, print culture, citizenship and democracy.

Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at The Johns Hopkins University. She is a historian, writer, and commentator who focuses on how black Americans have shaped the history of American democracy.

Ben Vinson III is the Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History, Provost and Executive Vice President at Case Western Reserve University. He is a historian of Colonial Latin America, with an emphasis on African Diaspora and Mexico.

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Date:
October 19
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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