Mary Beth Tinker discusses her journey with students’ rights

By Nicole Ziege, F/G Scholar

Mary Beth Tinker visits WKU

Des Moines, Iowa, native Mary Beth Tinker, then 13 years old, had just started the eighth grade when the United States officially entered the Vietnam War in 1965. Tinker grew up in a Methodist Christian family with parents who became involved in social issues, like the Civil Rights movement. Continue reading Mary Beth Tinker discusses her journey with students’ rights

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