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National Constitution Center Announces Events to Celebrate 14th Amendment Coming in 2019

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PHILADELPHIA, PA -  The National Constitution Center will open a permanent exhibit dedicated to the people and debates played a role in the formation and ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution in the Spring of 2019. A new theater performance and podcast series will also tell the story of the Reconstruction amendment that guaranteed equal protection to all persons,

"The 14th Amendment inscribed in the Constitution President Lincoln's promise at Gettysburg of a new birth of freedom," said National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen. "On the 150th anniversary of the amendment, these initiatives will allow learners of all ages to explore how the equality promised in the Declaration of Independence was not made explicit in the Constitution until the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, ratified after the Civil War."

The exhibit will use personal stories, documents, and artifacts to engage visitors with themes of freedom, equality, and citizenship. Visitors will leans about the roles Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, John Bingham and Harriet Tubman played in the period leading up to ratification. 

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The exhibit will include artifacts from collections around the region and across the country, including featured objects from the collection of the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia on loan from the Gettysburg Foundation and the Union League of Philadelphia. While learning about these Reconstruction Amendments, visitors will discover the promises that were enshrined in the Constitution and their impact on all Americans. 

In 2019, a new theater performance will shed new light on the Reconstruction era and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. It will be possible through a $300,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. The performance will explore significant historical documents and bring to life the leaders, influential figures, and everyday Americans directly affected by the Reconstruction Amendments. 

In August of this year, the National Constitution Center's podcast We the People will host a special series exploring the key figures of the Reconstruction era and why their stories resonate today. Hosted by President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen and inspired by a recent podcast conversation with award-winning documentarian Ken Burns on the power of telling constitutional stories, the series will feature historians including Mary Frances Berry, David Blight, and Gerard Magliocca discussing the complex histories of key figures like John Bingham, Frederick Douglass, and Callie House. We the People is available at constitutioncenter.org/podcasts, via iTunes, or anywhere podcasts are available.

The National Constitution Center is located on Independence Mall, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 215.409.6600

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