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Slavery is topic of Constitution Day events

by Alexa Buckwold - September 8, 2008


A Harvard law professor will give a talk and the captain of the ship Amistad will join a panel discussion during Constitution Day on Wednesday, Sept. 17. The events will take place in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, from 3 to 5 p.m.

This year, Constitution Day will comprise a series of events focused on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the amendment that ended slavery.

Veronica Makowsky, vice provost for undergraduate education and regional campus administration, says the purpose of Constitution Day is to educate the University community, particularly undergraduates, about an aspect of the Constitution, its history, and its relevance to current national and state issues.

“Constitution Day at UConn is becoming a well established tradition and a much-anticipated event, with this our fourth annual celebration,” she says. “The celebration helps us to learn, enjoy, and be inspired by the U.S. Constitution and its legacy.”

This year’s agenda will include:

  • A panel discussion on the Amistad Freedom Voyage, with Professor Mary Sarah Bilder of Boston College, and UConn student Erica Whyte, who served on board as one of the crew. The captain of the Amistad, Eliza Garfield, will make a special guest appearance. The panel will begin at 3 p.m.
  • Guest speaker Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. of the Harvard School of Law, a civil rights attorney and educator, who will speak at 4 p.m. Ogletree is the author or co-author of several books on topics such as race and the death penalty and the first half century of Brown v. Board of Education. His most recent book is When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice (New York University Press 2009). He also serves as co-chair of the Reparations Coordinating Committee, a group of lawyers and other experts researching a lawsuit based upon a claim of reparations for descendants of African slaves. There will be a book signing from 3 to 3:45 p.m. at the UConn Co-op.
  • The movie Amistad will be shown in the Student Union Theatre, on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m.

Constitution Day was first celebrated nationally in 1997 to represent the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787 in Philadelphia.


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