1927 February 28

Britain Denies Visa to ACLU Leader Roger Baldwin


Britain denied ACLU Director Roger Baldwin a visa that would have allowed him to visit the country. It was widely believed that the reason for the denial was Baldwin’s interest in independence for India and his admiration for independence leader Mahatma Gandhi. Partly as a result of the embarrassing publicity, the British government reversed itself on March 14th and admitted Baldwin for a two-week visit.

Baldwin had a great interest in international human rights throughout his long career, and following his retirement as ACLU Director in 1950, he devoted himself primarily to international issues.

The United States has had its own long history of denying people entry because of their political views. See the “gag” on foreign visitors (October 19, 1947), the ACLU’s call for “Free Trade in Ideas” (May 18, 1984), and the documentary film Visa War (January 6, 1987).

Read: Robert Cottrell, Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union (2000)

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

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