HCC hosts Constitution Day ‘09
Halifax Community College hosted
its fifth annual Constitution &
Citizenship Day, Sept. 18. The event took place in the 100
Building. Federal law requires that any agency receiving
federal funds acknowledge Constitution Day. HCC History
Instructor and Department Chair Shaun Stokes
coordinated the event.
Carolyn Mbajekwe, the president
and CEO of the Minority Higher Education Consulting Group,
gave the keynote speech. In her address, she emphasized the
aspect of compromise written into the Constitution.
Americans live under the oldest written constitution in the
history of the world. When the delegates to the 1787
Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia and began
working on what would become the U.S. Constitution, they did
not comprehend that the results of their actions would
endure for so long,” said Mbajekwe. “The key to our
Constitution is compromise. …To function properly, every
part of our government must compromise.” She explained that
this was a novel approach at the time the Constitution was
written and there was no other model in the world like it.
American Constitution, as a concept, was revolutionary in
nature. There was no precedent for this anywhere in the
world. It marked the birth of a representative democracy.
For the first time in the history of the world, power was
placed in the hands of the people,” she added. “The American
Constitution gave birth to the foundation of the modern
concept of freedom.”
explained that the rhetoric of freedom stood in opposition
to what was happening in real life at the time, so what has
been called the American paradox was created—what was on
paper was different from what was practiced. She explained
efforts in the 20th century to give everyone
equal protection under the law including those who had
previously been marginalized and disenfranchised. “This is
why we call it the living, breathing Constitution,” she
added and challenged students to continue working for an
equal and just nation.
Dr. Carolyn Mbajekwe