From the Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement

From the Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement
James H. Hershman, Jr.
Professor of Liberal Studies, Georgetown University
July 3, 2013

A powerful thread connects the American Revolution and the civil rights movement of the 1960s: the world-shaking proclamation of the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal” and have an undeniable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It became the centerpiece of African American political thought for the next two centuries—not the way it was applied by the Revolutionaries, tolerating slavery, but in its full, universal application. Professor Hershman follows this thread from the Revolution, through the Civil War and Reconstruction era, and onto Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the American civil rights movement.

Part 1 of 4: Declaration of Independence and Enslaved People (3:21)

Part 2 of 4: Promise of Declaration and 19th-Century African Americans (3:09)

Part 3 of 4: The Fight for Equal Protection (2:31)

Part 4 of 4: Martin Luther King and the American Revolution (3:20)


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