About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for The Bill of Rights at the Schoolhouse Gate

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight’s panel discussion on the Bill of Rights at the Schoolhouse Gate.

We are presenting this program in partnership with iCivics, and we thank them for their support. We would especially like to welcome all the educators, teachers, and students who are viewing this program.

Before we begin, I’d like to invite you to join us in a couple of days for another program you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, December 17, at 1 p.m., we will welcome Alison M. Parker to discuss her latest book, Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell. Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late 19th century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s.

I hope you can join us on December 17.

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Today, we mark Bill of Rights Day, the anniversary of the day in 1791 when the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, later known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified.

These amendments protect our most fundamental rights—freedom of speech, protest, and conscience—and guarantee our equal protection under the law.

The Bill of Rights has been displayed in the National Archives Rotunda since 1952—on Bill of Rights Day to be exact. Since then, millions of visitors from across the country and around the globe have gazed at the handwritten words on parchment that have guided us as a nation for nearly 230 years.

Over the centuries, though, individuals and organizations have debated the extent of these rights under various circumstances. Tonight our speakers will examine how these rights apply in schools.

Now it is my pleasure to welcome Julie Silverbrook, the Senior Director of Partnerships and Constitutional Scholar in Residence for iCivics, our partner organization for this evening.

Thank you for joining us today.