Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
What was the Fourteenth Amendment?
Life, liberty, and property rights
Equal protection of the laws
The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in July 1868, forbids any state to deny any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Chief among the multiple concepts in the amendment is citizenship, finally legally given to African-Americans.
The 14th Amendment is the topic in today’s edition of our ongoing 28 DAYS podcast series. Day 4 of 28 DAYS is performed by three narrators: Dion Graham, Lizan Mitchell, and Jonathan Earl Peck. As we go forward in this series, you'll be able to hear from each of them about their experiences with inhabiting these voices from history.
The passage of the 14th Amendment did not mean instant access by Black Americans to all the rights of citizenship the Dred Scott Decision had repressed. In fact, the 14th features in many of the most famous Civil Rights cases and is cited more than any other amendment to the Constitution.
For more audiobooks about how the citizenship rights intended by the 14th Amendment unfolded in 19th-century life, we also suggest these audiobooks:
FREEMAN, by Leonard Pitts, Jr., and read by Sean Crisden, exposes how changes in custom don't happen as quickly and clearly as changes in law. Listen to Sean Crisden's remarks on his experiences recording FREEMAN—a winner of AudioFile’s Earphones Award.
ALL GOD’S DANGERS: THE LIFE OF NATE SHAW, an oral history recorded by Theodore Rosengarten and read by Sean Crisden