A Question of Citizenship: 

The Fourteenth Amendment Yesterday and Today

Thursday, October 5

8:00am Breakfast  •  8:30 Panel Discussion

National Civil Rights Museum  •  Hooks Hyde Hall

At the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a debate on the interpretation of birthright citizenship has risen regarding immigration rights. On Thursday, October 5, at 8:00am the Museum is partnering with Rhodes College to present the panel discussion, “A Question of Citizenship: The Fourteenth Amendment Yesterday and Today” featuring Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Timothy Huebner, Sternberg Professor of History at Rhodes College, and Dr. Noelle Trent, Director of Interpretation, Education and Collections at the National Civil Rights Museum will join Rosen on the panel.

The Fourteenth Amendment, passed by Congress in 1867 and ratified as part of the Constitution in 1868, provides that all persons born in the United States are citizens.  Because the amendment guarantees “due process of law” and “equal protection of the laws,” it has served since its ratification as one of the foundations of American civil rights law.  The law was set during post-Civil War and the urgency to grant full citizenship to formerly enslaved African Americans born in the U.S. who were until then counted as three-fifths of the population in U.S. census. Today, the amendment frames the policy discussions around “anchor babies” and Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which are among topics the panelists will address.

Guest panelist Rosen is a highly regarded journalist, columnist, and scholar. In addition to leading the National Constitution Center, Rosen is a professor at The George Washington University Law School, and a contributing editor for The Atlantic. His essays and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New Republic, among many others. He is the author of five books on various aspects of constitutional history and constitutional law.

Huebner teaches courses on the History of the American South, the history of the Supreme Court, U.S. Constitutional History, and the Civil War and Reconstruction era.  Before becoming history department chair at Rhodes College, he founded and directed the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, a nationally acclaimed interdisciplinary undergraduate research program that focuses on Memphis and the Mid-South. He is the author of three books and has been honored with several teaching awards.

Trent joined the Museum in 2015 after completing her doctorate in Pubic History at Howard University. She has worked on several projects with organizations including National Archives and Records Administration, the National Park Service, Catherine B. Reynolds Civil War Washington Teacher’s Fellows, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History. She has presented papers and lectures at the American Historical Association, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Lincoln Forum, the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and recently, Memphis in Poland.

The event is free and includes breakfast at 8:00 with the discussion to begin at 8:30. Registration is required.