1957 June 3

You Can’t Read “Howl”! Publisher of Now-Classic Poem Arrested

 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and publisher of City Lights Books, and owner of City Lights Bookstore, along with Shig Murao, manager of the store, was arrested on obscenity charges for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl. Ginsberg was not arrested. Ferlinghetti and Murao were acquitted on October 3, 1957, in a great victory for freedom of expression.

Howl is now regarded as one of the great American poems, and the classic statement of the 1950s Beat Generation. City Lights Bookstore was designated a landmark in San Francisco in August 2001.

Read about the case: Bill Morgan, Howl on Trial: The Battle for Free Expression (2006)

Hear Ginsberg reading his famous poem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkNp56UZax4

Visit City Lights Books in San Francisco: 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco: http://www.citylights.com/

Visit the Beat Museum in San Francisco: http://www.kerouac.com/

Read: Fredrick S. Lane, Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture (2006)

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!