The International Civil Rights Center and Museum wants everyone to mark Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18 down on their calendars.
On those two days in the afternoon the museum is holding a “Constitution Day” celebration that will involve a lot of serious dialogue about the US Constitution, the significance of it, and even its shortcomings.
The country’s Founding Fathers signed the document on September 17, 1787, and, each year – though it doesn’t get as much notoriety as July 4th or Christmas – the day in mid-September is used to honor that achievement and the principles contained within it. Although signed in 1787, the US Constitution didn’t become law until it was ratified by nine states in 1788 and didn’t go into effect until 1789. North Carolina ratified the Constitution in 1789.
In 2020, the museum’s leaders have been stressing that – in light of recent events such as the death of George Floyd and related protests and riots over police brutality – dialogue about rights and freedoms in the US Constitution is more important than ever.
The civil rights museum’s literature promoting the event states, “Between the ‘tearing down’ and the ‘building up,’ there is the all-important work of ‘figuring out.’ That means more than thinking through something, or calculating an intended result. It means literally drawing out the design of what we want to make — configuring a space for the life of a community and a form for its coherent sustainability — so that there is something to build from and possibly improve upon.”
The two-day event will include an online zoom “encounter” with the museum followed by a “structured but open-ended” discussion led by Will Harris, a University of Pennsylvania professor who’s a principal scholar for the museum. Harris was formerly the founding director for the Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier plantation.
For more information on the event, call the International Civil Rights Center and Museum at (336) 274-9199.