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The Fourteenth Amendment

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    Dred Scott and His Family
  • : Joint Resolution Proposing An Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. July 21, 1868, Appendix Stat. 709., LVA
    Fourteenth Amendment
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    Indian Citizenship Act
  • Resolution against the Fourteenth Amendment. Lee-Jackson Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Richmond, to Governor James Lindsay Almond, Richmond, January 31, 1958. Virginia, Governor (1958–1962: Almond), Executive Papers, 1958–1962, Accession 26230, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    Lee-Jackson Camp Resolution
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    Jim Crow Image
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    African American Soldiers in WWI
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    Margaret Douglass Taught Free Black Children
  • School bus in Louisa County, Virginia,1935, LC-DIG-ppmsca-05512; Elementary school for whites, with automobile parked at entrance, South Boston, Virginia, between 1920 and 1940, LC-USZ62-99293; Elementary school for Afro-Americans, South Boston, Virginia, between 1920 and 1940, LC-USZ62-99294; Visual Materials from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Records, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.,
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  • Va. Equal Pay War Launched, <em>Afro American and Richmond Planet,</em> November 5, 1938. Petitions for Equal Teachers' Pay, <em>Journal and Guide </em>(Norfolk), November 5, 1938., LVA
    Aline Black Fought for Equal Pay
  • Segregation's Citadel Unbreached in 4 Years,<em> Southern School News # </em>(May 1958): pp., Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
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    Richmond Planet Lynching Article
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    Robert Leon Bacon Letter
  • Background Map: 1961 Freedom Rides. [New York]: Associated Press Newsfeature, [1962]. Printed map and text. Geography and Map Division. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., LOC
    Freedom Rides Map
  • Danville (Virginia) Corporation Court, 1963 Civil Rights Case Files, 1963–1973, Accession 38099, Local Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    Civil Rights Protests in Danville
  • [110th] H.Res.431 : Recognizing the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia legalizing interracial marriage within the United States. Sponsor: Representative Tammy Baldwin (introduced 5/23/2007)., LOC
    Loving v. Commonwealth
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    Virginia Civil Rights Memorial
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    Virginia Vagrancy Law
  • Silas Sexton Steele, “Walk Jaw Bone,” In <em>Songs of the Virginia Serenaders</em>. Boston: Keith's Pub. House, ca. 1844. Sheet Music Collection, Special Collections, Library of Virginia, Richmond., LVA
    Minstrel Performers
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    Pamunkey Schoolhouse
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    Robert Kennedy Visited Prince Edward County
  • <em> Richmond Planet,</em> April 30, 1904, Boxed Newspapers, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., LVA
    Richmond Streetcar Boycott
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« Return to The Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was the second of the three so-called Reconstruction amendments to settle constitutional questions that the Civil War created. It was ratified in 1868, three years after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and two years before the Fifteenth Amendment.

Consisting of five sections that conferred citizenship on former slaves, protected the rights of citizens from state abridgement, and initially disenfranchised some men who had taken part in the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment is the longest and most complex of the three amendments and has had the most wide-ranging and controversial influence on American politics and society.

The Law: Must be Obeyed, and Enforced

The Fourteenth Amendment granted American citizenship to the freedpeople and guaranteed that all people were entitled to the protections of due process of law and the equal protection of the law. During the following decades some states enacted laws that did discriminate against African Americans and often relegated them to second-class citizenship.

Drawing the Color Line: Equal but Separate

The "separate but equal" doctrine created in 1896 by the Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson permitted state governments to adopt many laws requiring separation of the races, and during the first half of the twentieth century federal and state courts relied on that doctrine to uphold racial segregation and discrimination statutes.

Education: Segregated Public Schools Are Not Equal

Following nearly two decades of legal challenges to the effects of racial segregation in public schools and higher education, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas on May 17, 1954, that state laws requiring the separation of races in public schools were unconstitutional.

Protest: Rise up and Demand Our Rights

After the Supreme Court reversed the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson, African Americans continued an increasingly vigorous and widespread campaign against racial segregation and discrimination generally.

For Educators

"Who is Jim Crow? Understanding Stereotypes"

Virginia Standards of Learning: VUS.7 (c), VUS.8 (c), USII.3 (c)
National History Standards: United States History: Era 6, Standard 17; Era 9, Standard 29

Download the lesson plan: Pdf (454 KB) Word (167 KB)

"Jim Crow and Virginia Indians"

Virginia Standards of Learning: VS.8 (a, b), USII.4 (c)
National History Standards: Standards in History for Grades K-4, Topic 2, Standard 3c, History Standards for Grades 5-12, United States, Era 6, Standard 2b

Download the lesson plan: Pdf (53 KB) Word (173 KB)

People Featured in This Unit:

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  • Dred Scott (ca. 1799–1858)
  • Margaret Douglass (fl. 1845–1854)
  • George Major Cook (1860–1930)
  • Walter Ashby Plecker (1861–1947)
  • John Mitchell Jr. (1863–1929)
  • Aline Black (1906–1974)
  • Oliver White Hill (1907–2007)
  • J. Lindsay Almond Jr. (1898–1986)
  • Spottswood William Robinson III (1916–1998)
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