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Civil Rights and Protests

Emancipation

What was the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to African Americans?

African Americans were granted citizenship and equal protection under the law for the first time with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment on July 28, 1868. The Fourteenth Amendment, also known as one of the Reconstruction Amendments, was proposed on June 13, 1866, and ratified by the necessary number of states on July 9, 1868. It provided a broad definition of U.S. citizenship and superseded the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which excluded slaves and their descendants as citizens. It declared that all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction are citizens thereof. It forbade the states to abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or to deprive any person of the life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It was used in the mid-1950s to dismantle racial segregation in the United States.



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