Fearing forced deportations during the 19th century, black Americans began the intellectual work that would decades later lead to the formation of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution giving birthright citizenship to anyone born in the country and equal protection under the law. On this program we talk about this history and its implications for today’s immigration debate with Martha Jones, author of the book Birthright Citizens: Race ad Citizenship in Antebellum America.
Guest: Martha S. Jones is the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at Johns Hopkins University, and Co-President of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. She is the author of Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (2018).
About Birthright Citizens
Birthright Citizens examines how black Americans transformed the terms of belonging for all Americans before the Civil War. They battled against black laws and threats of exile, arguing that citizenship was rooted in birth, not race. The Fourteenth Amendment affirmed this principle, one that still today determines who is a citizen.