Tag Archives: Free Speech

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

October 3, 1957

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Free speech v free speech

The struggle between the Bill of Right’s First Amendment [Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech…”] on paper and in reality is an ongoing one. That freedom becomes culturally uncomfortable when the speech expressed is contrary to the norm.

Allen Ginsberg Howl Judgement

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

James Joyce Ulysses

On December 6, 1933 in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses.  Judge John M. Woolsey ruled that James Joyce’s Ulysses was not pornographic—that nowhere in it was the “leer of the sensualist.”

     Woolsey stated that the novel was serious and that its author was sincere and honest in showing how the minds of his characters operate and what they were thinking. Some of their thoughts, the judge said, were expressed in “old Saxon words” familiar to readers, and [i]n respect of the recurrent emergence of the theme of sex in the minds of [Joyce’s] characters, it must always be remembered that his locale was Celtic and his season Spring. “To have failed to honestly tell fully what his characters thought would have been “artistically inexcusable”, said the judge.

One might think that such a clear ruling regarding literature closed the door to future challenges, but those challenges continued and continue.

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Ginsberg first performed “Howl” at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on October 7, 1955.  In 1956, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore and the City Lights Press, published  “Howl” as part of collection called Howl and Other Poems.

US Custom agents seized 520 copies of the book [printed in Great Britain] on March 25, 1957 and on June 3, 1957 two San Francisco undercover cops assigned to the Juvenile Bureau arrested Shigeyoshi Murao, a clerk at the City Lights store for selling “Howl and Other Poems.”

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement

Judgement

Ferlinghetti requested a bench trial thinking that a judge might be more likely to favor the defendant’s case than a jury.  Judge Clayton W Horn, a Republican, taught Sunday school. He had once sentenced sentenced five female thieves – the newspapers called them “lady shoplifters” – to attend a showing of the movie “The Ten Commandments” and to write essays on the epic film’s lesson when it came to stealing.

On October 3, 1959 Horn ruled and sided with the defense. In his ruling he said, “The first part of ‘Howl’ presents a picture of a nightmare world… The second part is an indictment of those elements in modern society destructive of the best qualities of human nature; such elements are predominantly identified as materialism, conformity and mechanization leading toward war…

Full transcript of decision

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement


Ginsberg reading Howl (link to words →  Howl)

Allen Ginsberg Howl judgement
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November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12 Peace Love Activism

Black History

George Washington, Slaves
November 12 Peace Love Activism
George Washington and one of his many slaves
November 12, 1775: General Washington, owner of more than 300 slaves, issued an order which forbade recruiting officers to enlist blacks. (see July 2, 1777)
Race Revolt
November 12, 1976: a race revolt erupted at Reidsville State Prison, now known as Georgia State Prison, in Reidsville, Georgia. Just a few years prior, a federal judge had ordered the prison to desegregate inmate living quarters. According to newspaper reports at the time, the riot began when 50-75 white prisoners armed with shanks attacked a group of black prisoners; in the end, 47 prisoners were injured and five were killed. Prison officials blamed the incident on an argument between homosexual inmates.

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Georgia state law requiring racial separation of prisoners at Reidsville (where 60-65% of prisoners were black). However, after an initial attempt at integration, the prison had repeatedly reverted to segregation in supposed efforts to cool racial tensions. At the time, ACLU of Georgia Director Gene Guerrero remarked, “It's the worst sort of cop-out – to lay the problems at Reidsville on integration.”

Following the November 1976 riot and several other incidents of deadly violence, U.S. District Judge Anthony Aliamo issued an order on July 3, 1978, to re-segregate dormitories at Reidsville for a period of 60 days. The common areas, such as the mess hall and recreation yard, were to remain integrated. When another deadly racial attack occurred in August 1978, the state successfully sought an extension of the re-segregation order, resulting in eight months of segregated dorms. At the time, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Offender Rehabilitation said that he thought the prison would have a “hard time going back” to integrated dormitories. (BH, see Nov 25; RR, see May 17, 1980)
BLACK & SHOT
November 12, 2016: the judge in the Samuel DuBose case (see July 19, 2015) declared a mistrial after the jury became deadlocked. (B & S, see January 24, 2017; DuBose, see July 18, 2017)

Immigration History

Ellis Island

November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12, 1954: Ellis Island closed after processing more than 20 million immigrants since opening in New York Harbor in 1892. (NYT article) (see June 17, 1958)

November 12 Music et al

 News Music
November 12, 1966: deejay Jimmy O'Neill was the host of  Shindig! He opened a nightclub called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip. This led to massive throngs of teens and traffic on the strip, and Los Angeles city enacted a series of loitering and curfew laws targeting teenagers. Young people gathered at Pandora's Box to defy the 10pm curfew. The riots kept growing, and the panicked L.A. City Council quickly moved to condemn and demolish Pandora's Box, which they ultimately did in 1967. The incident inspired a number of songs in 1967 and see Sunset Riots:
“For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield

Plastic People” by Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

Daily Nightly” by The Monkees

Riot on Sunset Strip” by The Standells

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Poor Side of Town
November 12 – 18, 1966: “Poor Side of Town” by Johnny Rivers #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Monkees
November 12, 1966 – February 10, 1967: The Monkees’ The Monkees the Billboard #1 album.

Free Speech

Religion & Public Education

November 12 Peace Love Activism

November 12, 1968: in Epperson v. Arkansas, the US Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas state law that prohibited the teaching of Darwinian evolution. The Court argued that the First Amendment required government neutrality on questions of religion and overturned the Arkansas State Supreme Court, which had ruled that the state's law represented a legitimate exercise of its authority to determine school curriculum.

Justice Fortas wrote, "The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment. (FS, see April 4, 1969; R & PE, see June 28, 1971)

Feminism/US Labor History

November 12, 1973: in the case of Laffey v. Northwest, decided on this day, stewardesses employed by Northwest Airlines won a sweeping ruling regarding sex discrimination over issues related to unequal pay, the lack of promotions, unequal benefits compared to male employees, and weight monitoring for stewardesses. The job of stewardess was a separate all-female job category, and women were forced to retire in their early 30s, not allowed to be married, and subject to monitoring of their weight. (Feminism, see January 21, 1974;  Labor, see March 24, 1974)
Church of England
November 12, 1981: The Church of England General Synod votes to admit women to holy orders. (see Feminism June 30, 1982)
November 12 Peace Love Activism

Iran hostage crisis

November 12, 1979: in response to the hostage situation in Tehran, U.S. President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all oil imports into the United States from Iran. (see Nov 14)

Calvin Graham

November 12, 1988: President Reagan signed legislation that granted Calvin full disability benefits, increased his back pay to $4917, and allowed $18,000 for past medical bills, contingent on receipts for the medical services. By this time, some of the doctors who treated him had died and many medical bills were lost. Calvin received only $2,100 of the possible $18,000. (Calvin Graham for full story)

César E. Chávez

November 12, 1990:  Mexican President Salinas de Gortari awarded  Chávez the Aguila Azteca, the highest Mexican civilian award. (see April 23, 1993)

Terrorism, World Trade Center

November 12 Peace Love Activism
World Trade center bomber Ramzi Yousef
November 12, 1997:  Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (NYT article) (see January 8, 1998)

AIDS, Ricky Ray

November 12 Peace Love Activism
Ricky Ray’s parents were prevented from enrolling their son in school.
November 12, 1998: the U.S. Congress enacts the Ricky Ray Hemophilia Relief Fund Act, honoring the Florida teenager who was infected with HIV through contaminated blood products. The Act authorized payments to individuals with hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders who were infected with HIV by unscreened blood-clotting agents between 1982 and 1987. (Federal site info) (see April 30, 2000)

LGBTQ

Same-sex Marriage
November 12, 2008, LGBT: same-sex marriages begin to be officially performed in Connecticut. (NYT article) (see Jan 1, 2009)
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
November 12 Peace Love Activism
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest
November 12, 2010: The US Supreme Court refused to intervene on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy while it was on appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (NYT article) (see Nov 30)
Banning Marriage Equality
November 12, 2014: U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel ruled against South Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.  In Condon v. Haley, Lambda Legal and private attorneys sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argued that South Carolina’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution.  In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in Bostic v. Shaeffer, in which the federal appeals court struck down Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. The Fourth Circuit ruling in Bostic was binding precedent on South Carolina. (NYT article) (LGBTQ, see Nov 19; South Carolina, see Nov 20)

Medical marijuana

November 12, 2013:  a University of Utah neurologist and two other Utah doctors announced their support for allowing a medical use of a marijuana extract for children who suffer from seizures. In a letter sent to the state Controlled Substances Advisory Committee on Tuesday, pediatric neurologist Dr. Francis Filloux said the liquid form of medical marijuana is a promising option for children with epilepsy. (see Dec 10)
Fair Housing & Consumer Protection
November 12, 2015: a proposed federal rule announced on this date would prohibit smoking in public housing homes nationwide under, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The ban, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke-free. (FH, see January 20, 2017; CP, see May 5, 2016)

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November 10 Peace Love Activism

November 10 Peace Love Activism

Black History

Nat Turner
November 10, 1831: Nat Turner hung.
Underground Railroad
From 1831–1862 the Underground Railroad helped approximately 75,000 slaves escape to the North and to freedom . The so-called railroad was a system in which free African American and white "conductors," abolitionists and sympathizers helped guide and shelter the escapees. (Slave Revolts, see in July 2, 1839)
Dred Scott
In 1832 Scott’s owner, Peter Blow, died. (Scott's full story)
Jeremiah Reeves
November 10, 1952: Jeremiah Reeves, a 16-year-old black high school student and jazz drummer, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and interrogated about the rape of Mabel Ann Crowder the previous July. Ms. Crowder, a white woman, had claimed rape after she and was discovered in her home having sex with Jeremiah – sex many in the black community suspected was part of a consensual, ongoing affair. Within minutes of his arrest, Jeremiah was taken to Kilby Prison where, during “questioning” by police, he was strapped into the electric chair and told that he would be electrocuted unless he admitted committing all of the rapes of white women reported that summer. The fearful boy soon confessed to the charges against him. Alabama executed him on March 8, 1958. (BH, see Dec 30; JR, see December 6, 1954)
Marcus Garvey
November 10, 1964: Garvey’s body was returned to Jamaica. The following day he was declared the country's first national hero. He is buried in the Marcus Garvey Memorial, National Heroes' Park, Kingston, Jamaica. (see Nov 14)
Rainey Pool murder
November 10 – 13, 1999: James “Doc” Caston, Charles Ernie Caston, and Hal Spivey Crimm had a joint jury trial in the Circuit Court of Humphreys County, Mississippi, the Honorable Jannie M. Lewis, presiding, for the death of Pool. Doc, Charles and Crimm were convicted of manslaughter by an unanimous jury.   All three men were sentenced to serve a term of twenty (20) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. (see Dec 9)
Murders of Three Civil Rights Workers
November 10, 2014: President Barack Obama announced 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the three civil rights workers killed by the KKK, on June 21, 1964 in Mississippi.

"From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world," he said. (see Dec 17) 

Feminism

Voting Rights
November 10 November 10
November 10, 1917: large picket demonstration held to protest treatment of Alice Paul and other suffrage prisoners. Thirty-one pickets arrested, including Dora Lewis and just-released-from-prison Lucy Burns. Pickets sentenced to varying terms at Occoquan Workhouse; Burns receives harshest penalty of six months. (see Nov 15)
Malala Yousafzai

November 10

November 10, 2013: in a decision announced by All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif, Malala Yousufzai’s recent book I am Malala will be banned in all schools across the country due to its ‘controversial’ content. In order to justify the decision, Mr. Kashif stated that the reason behind the ban is to avoid any confusion that the book may cause for students. It bears mentioning that the decision was taken by the private school owners; the government remained neutral toward the development. Furthermore, Mr. Kashif said that the book had little to do with the curriculum in schools and therefore should not be included in the syllabus. (see Nov 20)

Free Speech

November 10, 1919:  the US Supreme Court ruled in Abrams v. United States that the federal government could criminalize free speech if it was of a type tending to bring about harmful results, in this case resistance to the United States war effort. In a powerful dissenting opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes countered that even during wartime, free speech could only be curtailed when there was clear and "present danger of immediate evil or an intent to bring it about." (Abrams v. United States)(see March 23, 1920)

Vietnam

Robert McNamara
November 10, 1964: at a news conference, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that the US had no plans to send combat troops into Vietnam. When asked whether the US intended to increase its activities in Vietnam, he replied, "Wait and see." (see Dec 19)
No combat fatalities
November 10, 1970: for the first time in five years, no U.S. combat fatalities in Southeast Asia were reported for the previous week. (see Nov 17)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
November 10, 1982: the newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C. (see Nov 13)

Japanese Internment Camps

November 10, 1983: the 1944 challenge that Fred Korematsu brought regarding the Japanese internment and that the Supreme Court sided with the government in Korematsu v. United States ruling that the exclusion order was constitutional, in response to a petition of error coram nobis (“error before us”) by Fred Korematsu, the San Francisco Federal District Court reversed Korematsu’s 1942 conviction and rules that the internment was not justified. (NYT article) (see August 10, 1988)

Kate Smith, God Bless America

November 10, 1938, Kate Smith first sang Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" on network radio.

Technological and Cultural Milestone

Direct-dial phone call
November 10, 1951: direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began with a call between the mayors of Englewood, N.J., and Alameda, Calif. (coast to coast telephone service) (see Dec 20)

November 10

Sesame Street
November 10, 1969: "Sesame Street" made its broadcast debut. The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney's goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. (see January 1, 1970)
November 10 Peace Love Activism

Space Race

November 10, 1968: Zond 6 followed its predecessor's trajectory around the moon and returns with a "skip" reentry, bouncing once off the Earth's atmosphere to reduce the G-forces acting upon the contents. Two more Zond flights will follow in 1969 but they will all be unmanned. (see Dec 21 – 27)

Ken Kesey

November 10, 2001:  Ken Kesey died in a hospital in Eugene, Ore. He was 66 and lived in Pleasant Hill, Ore. The cause was complications after surgery for liver cancer late last month, said his friend and business associate, Ken Babbs. (see April 29, 2008)

Marijuana

November 10, 2009:  The American Medical Association softened its position on medical marijuana. The statement read in part: "Our AMA urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product." (see January 11, 2010)

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