Logo: Civil Discourse, An American Legacy Toolkit
A photo from the March on Washington, D.C. during the American Civil Rights Movement.

Civil Rights

Since its founding, the Constitution has been used, challenged, and made more perfect. All of this has been done to secure civil rights for groups whose rights have not always been protected. Explore the history of civil rights in America from its founding to today. How did Reconstruction amendments, civil rights legislation, and court cases like Brown v. the Board of Education shape the evolution of American civil rights? What issues still remain today? Prepare to engage in discourse on our country’s history with civil rights and what that means today and in the future.

Podcasts & Videos

Civil Rights at the Founding: Civil Rights, Part 1

  1. Watch and listen to the 60-Second Civics video below. If you'd like, you can also read along using the script that appears below the quiz. Or you can turn on the video's subtitles and read while watching the video.
  2. Take the Daily Civics Quiz. If you get the question wrong, watch the video again or read the script and try again.
Episode Description
Dr. Donna Phillips: Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. Today, we introduce our series on civil rights for the Civil Discourse: An American Legacy project. I'm Donna Phillips. And today we are joined by special guest Dr. Lester Brooks, American history professor emeritus from Anne Arundel Community College. Welcome, Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Lester Brooks: Thank you.

Dr. Donna Phillips: Great to have you here today. Thank you. Our question today is what were civil rights at our country's founding?

Dr. Lester Brooks: During the revolutionary era, a number of Blacks and those that could read, read the Declaration of Independence. Others were listening to the conversation. So they heard about these ideals that were presented in the Declaration of Independence. And certainly there was an urge to try and bring about emancipation. So petitions were written to some of the provincial legislatures. These ideas were floating.

Many believed even that there was possibility of freedom during the war. So you find blacks sometimes supporting the Patriot cause; others supporting the British cause, because who was going to offer them freedom? And so that was one of the keys during that Revolutionary War. And it did impact the Black community.

Dr. Donna Phillips: Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Brooks. This is all for today's podcast. 60-Second Civics where civics only takes a minute.

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