Constitution Day Events
This fall, the National Endowment for the Humanities has arranged special programming around Constitution Day on September 17th, focusing on the relationship between emancipation and the Constitution in anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. On this website you will be able to find information about this programming, lesson plans to help build this day into your syllabus, a student essay contest, and ways to connect with a large community of scholars.
Live Streamed Panel Presentation A group of prominent Civil War historians discussed the ramifications of emancipation before a live student audience at the Warner Brothers Theater in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Kenneth E. Behring Center in Washington, DC. The historians presented different perspectives on emancipation prevelant in fall 1862. Click here to learn more.
Cultural Presentation at the Lincoln Memorial In partnership with Howard University, the NEH hosted a cultural performance at the Lincoln Memorial, which showcased artistic interpretations of the emancipation experience. A recording of this event is available here.
Student Contest The NEH is hosting a creative student contest inspired by the September 17th events. High school, college, and community college students are encouraged to visit two NEH-funded databases and choose a primary source document to reinterpret in a new medium or respond to creatively. The final deadline for entries is October 5th, 2012.
We hope that you will join us in building a national community of American history teachers and students focusing on emancipation this year.
The National Endowment for the Humanities
Why Emancipation on Constitution Day?
The Connecticut Compromise developed the framework for a new nation whose structure was refined in the Constitution. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the lengthy journey American slaves took to freedom during the 1860s represents a reshaping of those promises outlined in the Bill of Rights. The emancipation experience broadened the scope of “We the people,” and paved the way for the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.
How Can I Participate?
If you are a teacher:
- - Share the videos of the panel discussion and Celebrating Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial with your students
- - Build lessons around curricula from NEH’s EDSITEment
- - Encourage your students to enter the NEH’s Student Contest
- - Share the Emancipation Timeline with your class
- - Make emancipation a central focus of your Civil War lessons this year
If you are a librarian/community leader:
- - Share the videos of the panel discussion and Celebrating Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial with your community
- - Share online resources with interested community members
If you are a student:
- - Enter the NEH’s Student Contest
- - Work with faculty at your school to set up a watch party
- - Check out the Emancipation Timeline with links to NEH-funded films and websites