Race and Rights in America

This course, led by Dr. Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University, explores the diverse political philosophies of influential Black Americans as they sought to secure their dignity as human beings and rights as citizens. Students will examine the fundamental tension between human equality and government by consent, a tension present at the birth of the American Union in 1776.

Read the course outline here and listen to a history teacher introduce the course below.


Please create a free K–12 student account. Note: Only K–12 logged-in students will be able to access the registration form.


  • Twenty-seven video sessions led by Professor Lucas Morel
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

Readings: Recommended readings related to the course are listed in the “Resources” link on the course page. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the recordings rather than the readings.

Course Access: After registering, you may access your course by logging in and visiting your “My Courses” link.


Lucas Morel is the John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University. His teaching and research interests are American government, political theory, Abraham Lincoln, and Black American politics. His books include Lincoln and the American Founding (2020) and Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government (2000). Morel is a board member of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and board member of the Abraham Lincoln Association. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Lucas Morel.