Franklin, John Hope, National Humanities Medal, 1993
The 14th Amendment
"My suggestion, simply stated, is the Fourteenth Amendment, ratifed by the people of the United States in 1868. It granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States and promised them equal protection of the laws. While this would appear to be quite clearly stated it is surely one of the most hotly contested provisions in the Constitution. It has been interpreted invarious ways by citizens, legislative and other public officials, and by the courts. Many wonder if, indeed, it provides equal protection. If we are to honor our past, the Fourteenth Amendment is a critical document for doing so as, indeed, it is essential to any agenda that looks to a future that grants full and complete equality and protection to all persons."