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Citizens By Birthright

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African-Americans living free in Baltimore before the Civil War were constantly testing whether the law and courts saw them as citizens, with rights to be respected.

In a new book, "Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America," Johns Hopkins Professor Martha Jones argues the free blacks of Baltimore shaped the idea of birthright citizenship that made it into the U.S. constitution, and that their struggle still carries meaning for today’s immigrants. This interview originally aired on July 26, 2018.

Martha Jones will be speaking about her book at a panel discussion, next Wednesday, September 26th at the Maryland Historical Society. 

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.