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Author: Hannah Dugan

Who Counts and When: On African-American suffrage, census, and the incremental steps for Civil Rights

2020 marks the 150th anniversaries both of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution confirming male African American suffrage, and of the first full United States census of African-Americans. Commemorating these consequential milestones prompts reflection about the hard fight obtaining, retaining and maintaining both ballot access and census accuracy. The steps towards official African American citizenship and civil rights were absurdly incremental; they began decades before 1870 and were not achieved in law for nearly ten decades after 1870 – upon the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In recent years, the federal judiciary removed critical enforcement...

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Who Counts and When: On Citizenship, the Census, and the Enduring Specter of Korematsu

The end of 2019 inauspiciously brought the seventy-fifth anniversary of Korematsu v. United States, the United States Supreme Court decision affirming the wartime, race-based internment of more than 120,000 persons of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens. While the notorious 1944 Korematsu v. United States[i] decision is decades old, its core concerns haunted 2019, the executive orders allowing mass internment, national interest decision-making based on race, government reparations, and citizenship stats and the counting of persons. Recent court decisions have turned back executive orders requiring the ban of certain foreign-born persons and the registration of others; have...

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Appraising the value of freedom, personal liberty, and human dignity on Bill of Rights Day

The Bill of Rights Day, December 15, 2019, celebrates the 228th birthday of the first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights not only confirms individual and inherent rights but also amounts to the first tweaks to the limits and controls of the federal government. Quarrels abound about interpreting this quill-penned document but its genius remains unchallenged. It continues to play an integral role in the everyday lives of Americans — including right here in Milwaukee County in 2019. The Bill of Rights as Part of the Every Day Lives in Milwaukee — The Sixth...

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Constitution Day: Remembering the responsibilities and opportunities of being a U.S. citizen

September 17 is Constitution and Citizenship Day, and the federal observance commemorates not only the creation of the U.S. Constitution but also those who have become citizens. The federal law creation Constitution and Citizenship Day mandates that civic and local government institutions plan for the “complete instruction of citizens in their responsibilities and opportunities as citizens of the United States and locally.” The designation of “Constitution Week” extends from September 17 to 23. September 17 marks the date in 1787 when 39 delegates of the Constitutional Convention signed the proposed Constitution, and then sent it off to the original...

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Frederick Charles Winkler: Milwaukee’s Hero of Gettysburg

During his life, Milwaukee attorney Frederick Winkler seemed to be everywhere. He was the Zelig of civic life in Milwaukee, the Forrest Gump of the American Civil War. And yet he is essentially unknown today. On the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 through July 3, 1863) it is fitting to recall one of his most remarkable achievements: commanding Wisconsin’s famous 26th regiment at Gettysburg. [1] The Back-Story About Winkler’s “Field Journal.” Winkler’s life is rather well documented because he remained a celebrated “local boy” after the Civil War, an active legal practitioner and an important public...

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Montgomery: A trail of memorials connecting the civil rights struggle to Milwaukee

This article is part of a series that connects Milwaukee’s current social conditions with efforts in Alabama cities to publicly recognize their racial histories, to document the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement, and to extend and expand the Movement’s goals towards peace and reconciliation. Temporary “medallions” painted on the sidewalk announce Montgomery as one of the New York Times 52 places to visit in 2018. Its decade long revitalization plan is visible in building restored buildings, a renewed riverfront, and history-based tourism. It is from here that the Confederate States of America installed its government to fight the Civil War;...

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