Constitution Day: A time to reflect on history

The 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution is Sept. 17. It was originally signed Sept. 17, 1787.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, educational institutions that receive federal funds for the fiscal year are required to have educational programs pertaining to the U.S. Constitution available to students.

There are many ways to celebrate the Constitution. The Department of Education’s website has offered free resources that contain historical information of the Constitution, http://free.ed.gov/subjects.cfm?subject_id=19.

Malik Simba, a professor at Fresno State with an emphasis in Constitutional History and African American History, suggests a more critical look into our history.

“Constitution Day changed from Citizenship Day in 2004.  The question still remains, should this Day be about celebration only or about critical reflection on the ‘living Constitution,’” Simba said.

The Constitution has changed over the years. In its original form in 1787, it was interpreted to support slavery and did not support the idea that individuals of different races were held equal, Simba said.

Over the years, the constitution has been amended in significant ways, which changed American culture. Some examples are: the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in the U.S.; the 14th Amendment, which gave African-Americans their citizenship; and the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Fresno State will offer a forum on the subject of Constitution Day, starting at 11 a.m. in the Satellite Student Union.

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