America's First Civil Rights Movement (Teacher Seminar Online)

America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from Revolution to Reconstruction

Lead Scholar: Kate Masur, Northwestern University
Master Teacher: Kory Loyola
Live Session Dates: Week of August 5
Registration Deadline: Monday, July 29


Image Source: “Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia by the Colored People, in Washington,” by F. Dielman, in Harper’s Weekly, April 19, 1866 (The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, GLC01733.08, p. 300)

Cartoon from Harpers Weekly showing crowds celebrating abolition
  • 24 PD Credits

Seminar Description

This seminar will explore the little-known movement for racial equality in free states from the nation’s founding to the Civil War and Reconstruction. It will emphasize

  • African Americans’ leadership in this struggle
  • the interpenetration of race, class, and gender oppression
  • the complex history of citizenship
  • the changing political landscape of the antebellum United States and the Constitution

Through both small-scale histories and large structural changes, we’ll examine Black political mobilization and the work of White allies who fought for racial justice. Participants will also emerge with an enhanced understanding of the US Constitution, American federalism, and the Reconstruction amendments.

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Live Zoom Sessions

Monday, August 5: 6:00 pm ET to 8:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • Pedagogy Session

Tuesday, August 6: 6:00 pm ET to 8:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • Historic New Orleans Collection Session

Wednesday, August 7: 6:00 pm ET to 8:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • Pedagogy Session

Thursday, August 8: 6:00 pm ET to 8:00 pm ET

  • Historic New Orleans Collection Session
  • Final Open Discussion

Project Team


Kate Masur, Lead Scholar

Kate Masur is a professor of history and Board of Visitors Professor at Northwestern University. Her recent book, Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction (Norton, 2021), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History and winner of the Littleton-Griswold Prize from the American Historical Association, the John Phillip Reid Book Award from the American Society for Legal History, and the John Nau Book Prize in American Civil War Era History. Masur is also the author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, DC (UNC Press, 2010) and, with Gregory Downs, editor of The World the Civil War Made (UNC Press, 2015).

Masur recently coordinated a team that produced Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice. Part of the Colored Conventions Project, this online exhibit highlights early Black communities and Black activism in Illinois and includes biographical profiles of twenty-five individuals. She was part of the editorial team that created Reconstruction: The Official National Park Service Handbook and she and Downs are co-editors of the Journal of the Civil War Era, a scholarly journal that maintains a blog called Muster.


Kory Loyola, Master Teacher

Kory LaCarrubba Loyola teaches US History I, AP US History, Debate and Public Speaking, and Social Justice, and coaches debate at High Point High School in New Jersey. She has been a teacher for twenty-three years. Kory majored in history at Rutgers University and holds a master’s degree in education from Rutgers and a master’s degree in history from Drew University. She was named the Gilder Lehrman New Jersey History Teacher of the Year in 2016 and the New Jersey Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History in 2021.

Made possible with the support of our partner

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The Historic New Orleans Collection

This seminar is presented in partnership with The Historic New Orleans Collection. The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to the stewardship of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South.


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