In 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.
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
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
Abrams v. United States (1919) stems from a time when war was raging with Germany on Russian soil after revolutionists had overtaken the tsarists (Oyez, 2018). In an act of protest against the war, six Russian immigrants were involved in releasing thousands of pamphlets encouraging the general strike of producing munition necessary for the war efforts (Oyez, 2018). The pamphlets were dropped from a building window in New York City – one was written in English while the other was in Yiddish (Oyez, 2018). Continue reading Abrams vs. United States: Limits to dissent in a time of war
On March 2, 1961, nearly 200 African American high school and college students gathered at the Zion Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Together, they marched six blocks down to the state capitol building to protest racial inequality and segregation. When they arrived, they proceeded to walk around the state house for 45 minutes while a crowd of nearly 350 onlookers gathered. The city manager began to worry that the situation would become dangerous and that traffic would further be disruptive, so he asked the police officers to tell the crowd of protestors to disperse. The police complied and told the protestors they had 15 minutes to disperse or they would be arrested for disorderly conduct and breach of the peace. Continue reading Edwards vs. South Carolina: Protecting the right to march
By Evan Heichelbech and Cameron Coyle, F/G Scholars
After Matthew Snyder, a U.S. Marine, was killed in the line of duty in 2006, Fred Phelps and other members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the fallen marine’s funeral. Phelps and his followers held signs up across the street with messages like “Thank God for 9/11” and “Pray for more dead soldiers” written on them. Continue reading Snyder vs. Phelps: Tolerating intolerance