In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case that Wong Kim Ark, a child of Chinese parents who was himself born in San Francisco, was indeed an American citizen.
This right to citizenship derived from language in the 14th amendment, stating: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
And yet, because that amendment had been designed to give former slaves citizenship after the Civil War, Wong Kim Ark's case marked the first time in U.S. history that the courts confirmed it could also apply to immigrants' children, born in America, even if the parents weren't citizens themselves.
This episode explores this case and the role it came to play in profoundly shaping immigration to — and diversity in — America.
Episode guests include Erika Lee, a history professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Immigration History Research Center, as well as the author of “The Making of Asian America: A History”; and Lucy Salyer, a history professor at the University of New Hampshire and author of “Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law.”
In 1879, a case involving Chief Standing Bear came before a Nebraska courtroom and demanded an answer to the question: Are Native Americans considered human beings under the U.S. Constitution?
Monday, August 7, 2017
As powerful as it was to change the Constitution after the Civil War, and enshrine racial equality into our governing document, that wasn’t enough to change the reality of life in America.
Monday, August 21, 2017