1929 April 19

Supt. of NYC Schools Bars Talk on “Free Speech” by ACLU Head Roger Baldwin


The Superintendent of the New York City schools barred a talk on “free speech” by ACLU Director Roger Baldwin. The incident was one of several in the 1920s in which school officials barred talks in schools by the ACLU. Self-appointed patriot groups, meanwhile, pressured school officials to prevent discussions of ideas they regarded as “radical.”

For the long battle between the ACLU and the New York City school system over freedom of speech, see May 21, 1926 (when the ACLU was banned from the schools); March 19, 1928 (when the school superintendent denounced the ACLU); and November 27, 1928 (when the ACLU won the right to speak in the schools).

Learn more about the history of free speech: Nat Hentoff, The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America (1980)

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

And more about freedom of speech: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/category/speech

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