1962 March 14

Bridgeport, CT, Police Chief Bans Novel, “The Carpetbaggers;” Connecticut ACLU to Sue

 

The Police Chief of Bridgeport, Connecticut, declared the best-selling novel The Carpetbaggers to be obscene and ordered it removed from all newsstands. The Fairfield County Chapter of the ACLU on this day protested the police chief’s action, arguing that “no public official has the right to act as censor.” On Sunday, the Roman Catholic Bishop praised the chief. Harold Robbins, author of the novel who lives in nearby Norwalk, Connecticut, said that “censorship of this form is completely ridiculous.”

The censorship of books, except for extreme forms of pornography, collapsed in the U.S. in the 1960s, due to both changing public standards with regard to sexuality and a series of Supreme Court decisions broadening the protections of the First Amendment. See especially the June 22, 1964 decision regarding Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.

Learn more about the anti-censorship campaign in the 1950s and 1960s: Charles Rembar, The End of Obscenity: The Trials of Lady Chatterley, Tropic of Cancer, and Fanny Hill (1968)

Find out about Banned Books Week:http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/

Read: Samuel Walker, In Defense of American Liberties: A History of the ACLU (1990)

Read the ACLU FBI File (not the complete file): http://vault.fbi.gov/ACLU

Learn about the ACLU today: www.aclu.org

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