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December 15

Civil Rights are the rights and privileges to which we are entitled under the laws that govern our nation. After the American Constitution was adopted, some states were concerned that it didn't spell out specific rights to which the new nation's citizens would be entitled. James Madison didn't think a Bill of Rights was necessary, but to keep the states from demanding another Constitutional Convention, he suggested including a bill of rights to amend the Constitution. He helped draft ten Amendments that would come to be known as the Bill of Rights. On December 15, 1791 these Amendments were ratified by three quarters of the states.

In 1941, to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed December 15 should be observed as Bill of Rights Day, with appropriate ceremonies to celebrate the civil rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights addresses: 1) Freedom of assembly, press, religion and speech, 2) Right to keep and bear arms 3) Rights regarding the housing of soldiers 4) Regulation against unreasonable search and seizure 5) The right to due process and protection against self incrimination 6) Right of trial by jury with public defense if needed 7) right of jury trial in common law 8) Protection against excessive bail, and unusual punishment 9) Nothing in the Constitution can deny the rights of others 10) Granting power to states or to the people for issues not covered in the Constitution.

Bill of Rights Day is an opportunity to honor those who worked to help create an America where all Americans' civil rights are protected and to stand up for the continuing protection of our civil rights guaranteed in the Constitution.


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DO ONE THING for a Better World

1. Find out more about the Bill of Rights and the civil rights this document guarentees us all.

2. Get involved in a campaign to protect our civil rights.

3. Organize or participate in a community service or awareness-building event or activity on Bill of Rights Day

4. Support organizations that protect civil rights for all.


Bill of Rights Institute
Holiday Origins: Bill of Rights Day

Teachers Link: Bill of Rights Day

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Carter Center
Center for Human Rights
Human Rights Campaign
International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Southern Poverty Law Center
Universal Rights Network
Women's Human Rights Net

Civil Rights Day - August 12
Citizenship Day - September 17
Human Rights Day - December 10
Bill Of Rights Day - December 15



HEROPIX for a Better World
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Noam Chomsky

Frederick Douglass

Dwight Eisenhower

Thomas Jefferson

Abraham Lincoln

James Madison

George Mason

John Stuart Mill

Eleanor Holmes Norton

A. Philip Randolph

Wendell Wilkie

Bill of Rights

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Bill of Rights Day-December 15

Susan B. Anthony

Roger Nash Baldwin

Harry Belafonte

Noam Chomsky

George Clooney

Justice William O. Douglas

Frederick Douglass

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Benjamin Franklin

Mohandas Gandhi

Dorothy Height

Hubert Humphrey

Robert G. Ingersoll

Thomas Jefferson

John F. Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy

Martin Luther King

Abraham Lincoln

James Madison

Bob Marley

Justice Thurgood Marshall

George Mason

John Stuart Mill

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Barack Obama

Thomas Paine

Rosa Parks

Wendell Phillips

A. Philip Randolph

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Carl Sagan

Henry David Thoreau

Wendell Wilkie

Roy Wilkins

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Kids | Youth | Adults | Calendar | Quotes | Heroes | Stories | The EMILY Fund | Scholarships
DO ONE THING and BetterWorld Kids Clubs are projects of The EMILY Fund (The Emily Silverstein Fund, Inc.)
Hero portraits are included for illustration purposes only - no celebrity endorsement implied

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