On this day in 1868, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially adopted, giving "all persons born or naturalized in the United States...are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside."
With it, all African Americans became recognized citizens with full civil rights.
"Freedom," explained writer Charles Peguy, "is a system based on courage."
This "Civil Rights of Citizens" was enacted during the Civil War Reconstruction. Southern states were required to ratify the Amendment in order to be readmitted into the Union. Although the enactment did not prevent the discrimination and segregation that followed, the Amendment helped future activists in their quest for true equality.
As leader Martin Luther King, Jr. explained 100 years after the Amendment's adoption, "Life’s piano can only produce melodies of brotherhood (and sisterhood) when it is recognized that the black keys are as basic, necessary and beautiful as the white keys."
Endurance and dreams are limitless.