Speaking of Constitution Day
Constitution Day is September 17th. Join the Richmond Public Library (RPL) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Libraries in celebrating the 19th Amendment this Constitution Day. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is important because it gave women the right to vote. Therefore, in recognition of Constitution Day and the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, RPL and VCU will present a series of three videos. These videos will explore the history of women’s suffrage in the United States. The series will feature three experts and can be viewed at go.vcu.edu/constitution.
- Historian Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D., on Women’s suffrage. Dr. Eastman is an associate professor in the VCU Department of History. Her research focuses on the history of early America with an emphasis on gender and political culture. She is the author of the award-winning book Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public After the Revolution. RPL’s Kathryn Roe Coker, Ph.D. History, will interview Dr. Eastman.
- Legal specialist Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, JD/MA., on African American Women’s suffrage. Attorney Browne-Marshall is a professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). She previously taught in the Africana Studies Program at Vassar College. A civil rights attorney, she litigated cases for Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. She is the author of The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justice and Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Present. Nia Rodgers, VCU Public Affairs Research Librarian, will interview Attorney Browne-Marshall.
- Political scientist John Aughenbaugh, Ph.D., on Legal Issues Surrounding Suffrage. Dr. Aughenbaugh is an assistant professor in the VCU Department of Political Science. Prior to coming to VCU, he was an administrator at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), working as associate director of Virginia Tech’s Richmond Center and as an economic and community development specialist in the Office of Economic Development. RPL’s Law Librarian Meldon Jenkins-Jones, JD, MSLIS, will interview Dr. Aughenbaugh.
In the Legal Issues segment of the Constitution Day video series, Dr. Aughenbaugh will delve into such questions as:
- What does the original U. S. Constitution say about voting rights?
- Before giving women the right to vote, what was the most significant part of the Constitution concerning voting?
- How was the 19th Amendment interpreted by the Courts, particularly the U. S. Supreme Court in the Warren era?
- Why was the Voting Rights Act of 1965 necessary? What impact did it have on voting in the U.S.?
- How has the Voting Rights Act of 1965 been impacted by the U. S. Supreme Court?
- What legitimate restrictions may government impose on voters?
Voter Suppression Books
These questions are particularly relevant now because of recent years of heightened voter suppression. Voter suppression is the subject of many recent books, For instance, the following sampling of books are available for checkout at RPL:
- One Person, No Vote : How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson (This is the VCU Common Book this year!)
- One Person, No Vote: How Not All Voters Are Treated Equally YA edition, by Carol Anderson
- Our Time is Now : Power, purpose, and the fight for a fair America by Stacey Abrams
- Election Meltdown : Dirty tricks, distrust, and the threat to American democracy by Richard L. Hasen
Reading Lists on Women’s Suffrage and the 19th Amendment
Series segments also have reading lists–See them at go.vcu.edu/constitution–so that you can celebrate the 19th Amendment by learning even more about voting rights governed by the United States Constitution.