152 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint Congressional resolution proposing the 13th Amendment. When ratified later that year, the 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in the United States. Read the text of the 13th Amendment and see an image of the original document at the Library of Congress.
January 30th is Fred Korematsu Day. Mr. Korematsu was a national civil rights hero. He was one of only a handful of Asian Americans who challenged the government’s efforts to incarcerate Japanese Americans from the West Coast in internment camps during World War II. At the age of 23, Mr. Korematsu was arrested and eventually convicted for defying the government’s order to leave California. Undeterred, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, in a decision that remains a stain on the Court’s legacy, the Court ruled against him. As Associate Justice Stephen Breyer declares in our film, Korematsu and Civil Liberties, it is “universally acknowledge that that was an error.” Watch our film and learn more about Mr. Korematsu and his fight for justice.
This week marks the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first bill signed into law by President Barack Obama back in 2009. As a new president takes office, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure equal pay for equal work becomes a reality. Watch our ABA Silver Gavel Award winning film, A Call to Act and learn about Mrs. Ledbetter’s amazing fight that took her to the Supreme Court, Congress and finally the White House.
On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. Article VII of the Constitution required that 9 out of the original 13 colonies ratify the document for it to be adopted. On June 21, the following year, New Hampshire became that 9th state. Rhode Island became the last state to ratify the Constitution nearly 2 years later in May of 1790.
Read more about the ratification process at the National Archives.
Every citizens gets to vote in our democracy. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? But that hasn’t always meant that each vote counts equally. Even today, rural voters have a disproportionate effect on our elections. Watch One Person, One Vote to learn about the ongoing struggle to make sure that all voters have an equal say in our elections.