AUBURN — Charlie Plummer will serve as keynote speaker in “The Fourteenth Amendment in American Life” public forum series in the Androscoggin Community Room at the Auburn Public Library, 49 Spring St.

Plummer is an instructor at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn Senior College.

On Tuesday, June 7, he will present the “Philosophy of Freedom and Liberation,” the goal of which is to help participants gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of freedom and liberation.

The presentation will discuss the philosophy of freedom and liberation, beginning with the concepts’ ancient roots and ending in present-day America.

On Thursday, June 23, he will present “Reconstruction: The People and the Politics Following the Civil War.”

Both presentations are at 2 p.m.

According to Plummer, the challenging prospect of rebuilding the South and transitioning four million newly freed blacks from slavery to a free-labor society fell to the Army’s “Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands,” established in 1865.

The Freemen’s Bureau plan was a good one, noted Plummer, “until the politicians got involved.”

Plummer’s lecture examines the role of the federal government in protecting citizens’ rights, and the efforts for economic and racial justice in the years following the “War Between the States.”

The constitutional amendments adopted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, known as “Reconstruction Amendments,” have been called the basis of America’s second founding, a “broad and sure foundation,” providing equality for all before the law. Through the Reconstruction period and beyond, these amendments have fundamentally shaped ideas of citizenship, equality and liberty.

Passed by Congress 150 years ago thanks in large part to Maine’s own William Pitt Fessenden, the 14th Amendment laid the groundwork for many of the most valued — and debated — rights.

The goal of these grant-supported lectures, offered in partnership with the Maine Arts Commission and the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine, is to use the arts and the humanities to highlight and examine 14th Amendment-related social and cultural issues.

Both lectures are free.


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