National Socialist Party vs. Skokie: Supporting provocative protest

By Rebekah Alvey and Emma Austin, F/G Scholars

Fleischaker Greene LogoIn 1977, the population of Skokie, Illinois, was over half Jewish. When leader of the National Socialist “Nazi” Party of America Frank Collin informed the Skokie police chief the party was planning a march in the village, the news traveled fast.

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Nazis march through Skokie, Illinois in 1977 (Courtesy WorldChannel.org)

Nazi party members allegedly made phone calls to some of the town’s residents whose names sounded Jewish, and media coverage made the plans common knowledge around Skokie. The demonstrators said they would cooperate with reasonable police instructions and would not make derogatory public statements. An anti-protest was planned, and police were warned it may not be contained. Continue reading National Socialist Party vs. Skokie: Supporting provocative protest

Tinker vs. DesMoines: Protest inside the schoolhouse door

By Lane Hendrick and Hannah Shaffer, F/G Scholars

Mary Beth Tinker and her mother at a Des Moines school board meeting, 1965 (Courtesy Mary Beth Tinker)

In December of 1965 a group comprised of both adults and students held a meeting and decided to share publicly their objections to the war in Vietnam and to show support for a Christmas Truce, they decided to wear black armbands in protest of such hostilities and to fast on Dec. 16 and on New Year’s Eve.

School principals in Des Moines were aware that people planned to protest the war in such a way and on Dec. 14, 1965 they created and adopted a policy saying that any student seen wearing an armband would be asked to take it off and if they refused they would be suspended until they returned to school without the armband. Continue reading Tinker vs. DesMoines: Protest inside the schoolhouse door

Freedom of Speech and Protest

For 2018, the Fleischaker/Greene Scholars in Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting are exploring a right fundamental to American life and democracy — the right to protest, complain, dissent and have our voices heard.

The First Amendment has always been a living, breathing, pulsating fact of national life. As students of journalism and history, we strive to tell that rich story and apply it to our own time.