Civics 101: Six Landmark Civil Rights Cases
A new multi-part series from New Hampshire Public Radio’s Civics 101 – a podcast refresher course on the basics of our democracy– explores six Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) cases dealing with civil rights. The series explores how equality, citizenship, and freedom have been interpreted over the past two centuries.
Beginning May 18, Civics 101 will launch six episodes exploring the following cases bi-weekly:
- Dred Scott v. Sanford
- Plessy v. Ferguson
- Brown v. Board of Education
- Korematsu v. United States
- Loving v. Virginia
- Obergefell v. Hodges
May 18: The first episode delves into the 1857 Supreme Court Case Dred Scott v. Sanford, in which an enslaved man and his family sued for their freedom. The court denied the legality of citizenship for Black Americans, a decision that many scholars now consider the worst in the court’s history.
June 1: The second episode details the decision behind the phrase “separate but equal.” In the Plessy v. Ferguson case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation laws for public facilities as long as the segregated facilities were “equal in quality.”
June 15: The third episode explores Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in which the Court overturned Plessy, ruling that state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality.
June 29: Korematsu v. United States centers the fourth episode, a 1944 case concerning the relocation of "all persons of Japanese ancestry, including aliens and non-aliens" to internment camps as a matter of national security. A 23-year-old Japanese-American man, Fred Korematsu, refused to leave and instead challenged the order on the grounds that it violated the Fifth Amendment.
July 13: The fifth episode delves into the 1967 case, Loving v. Virginia. The Court ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
July 20: The final episode explores a landmark case from just six years ago – Obergefell v. Hodges – a decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
To learn more about Civics 101 and listen to new episodes:
- Subscribe to the podcast on a platform of choice:
- Find classroom materials and additional reading at civics101podcast.org
- Subscribe to the biweekly podcast newsletter.
Since 1981, New Hampshire Public Radio has shaped the media landscape in the Granite State and beyond. Our mission is “Expanding minds, sparking connections, building stronger communities.” NHPR is broadcast from 14 different sites, making it by far New Hampshire’s largest (and only) statewide radio news service. Every week, NHPR is the choice of 152,000 listeners as a primary source of in-depth and intelligent news coverage and enlightening programming. Thousands more view NHPR.org, follow our social media sites, stream our service online, or listen to our podcasts. Each day, New Hampshire Public Radio delivers several hours of local news reported by its award-winning news team. Locally produced programs and podcasts include The Exchange, The Folk Show, Outside/In, and Civics 101, among others. NHPR is the exclusive outlet for NPR News in the Granite State and broadcasts national weekly programs such as The Moth Radio Hour, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and This American Life. Visit nhpr.org to access our news and information.