North Carolina Passes Campus Speaker Ban
North Carolina on this day passed a law banning from speaking on state college and university campuses “known” Communists, “known” advocates of the violent overthrow of the state, and persons who took the Fifth Amendment regarding Communist Party membership.
On March 9, 1966, Frank Wilkinson, leader of the campaign to abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), and Herbert Aptheker, a historian and member of the Communist Party, mocked the ban by speaking to students from the other side of the low wall that circles the University of North Carolina campus. In February 1968, a three-judge District Court panel deliberated for 10 minutes and then declared the ban unconstitutional.
On Frank Wilkinson’s long civil liberties career as the leader of the national campaign to abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), see January 2, 2006. Herbert Aptheker, meanwhile, was banned from speaking at Ohio State University on April 21, 1965 because he was a Communist. He sat on the stage while someone read from his works.
Learn more about the North Carolina speaker ban: http://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/protest/speaker-essay
Learn more about Frank Wilkinson: Robert Sherrill, First Amendment Felon: The Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000 Page FBI File and His Epic Fight for Civil Rights and Liberties (2004)