The U. S. Constitution and African Americans
In your textbook, there is a detailed discussion of the status of African people when the Constitution was drafted. As you know, the U.S. constitution is one of the most revered documents within the U.S. and in the world. However, for many African Americans, the Constitution is a flawed document that allowed for the continued enslavement of their people.
Throughout history, many African Americans have criticized the Constitution and its framers, particularly Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. For instance, on the 200th anniversary of the Constitution, the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said,
“…nor do I find the wisdom, foresight and sense of justice exhibited by the framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments a civil war, and momentous social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”
Criticisms, such as Marshall’s, have resulted in accusations that African Americans are less patriotic than other Americans.
Please discuss your views on the Constitution and the issues of freedom and equality. In your writing, discuss the contradiction of the framers who led the fight for freedom against the British Empire, but then allowed slavery in the formation of their independent nation. Note that even after the Civil War, the passage of several amendments to the constitution during reconstruction, racism continued to destroy the lives of African people living in the U.S.
Is the Constitution a sufficient document for protecting the rights of U.S. citizens? Should African Americans revere the Constitution?
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