Skokie V.S the Selma March
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The National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie (1977)
In 1977, there was a village by the name of Skokie in the state of Illinois. This city obtained a population of about 70,000. And of these, approximately 40,000 were Jews. Constitutional freedoms have long been worthy of an agreeably strong battle. And to interfere with ones inherent constitutional rights is, in a way, to take away what makes us as America a democracy. An especially decent example of this is in the case of The Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America, where a Nazi demonstration had been purposely planned for this predominately Jewish community of Holocaust survivors. There has been question as to whether the town was within its rights to refuse such a demonstration; also as to whether the American Nazi Party was within its rights to demonstrate with such obviously cruel intentions. Clearly, the First Amendment is something by which content cant be censored merely because someone does not like what is being said. However, there are instances when words are spoken with the specific intent to cause a violent response, which is known as the Fighting Words Doctrine. In this specific case, First Amendment rights do not protect such aggravation.
Selma-to-Montgomery March “Bloody Sunday” (19–)
There are other situations in which the First Amendment has been tested. Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the active attempts of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register the Black voters of Alabama, there was not very significant progress made. An instance of one such place facing the issues dealing with the controversy present of the First Amendments “Freedom of Speech” was Selma Alabama. This small southern town of 29,000 soon became the focal point of the Civil Rights movement. Of the 15,156 blacks in Dallas County, Alabama merely 156 were registered to vote. On January 2, 1965 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King visited Selma and gave a passionate speech in which he stated: “Today marks the beginning of a determined organized, mobilized campaign to get the right to vote everywhere in Alabama.”
On Monday, January 14th, Dr. King returned to Selma and registered in the Hotel Albert, becoming the first black to do so. He then went on to lead to the courthouse to register to vote. Nothing happened the first day, but on the second 67 people were arrested. So it proceeded day by day. Reverend King was arrested during one of the marches and, to many of those who opposed to the causes dismay, his presence in jail engrossed additional media attention to Selma.
On February 18 the SCLC leader, James Orange, was arrested in Perry County. That evening, hundreds of blacks gathered and marched on towards the jail. Impending towards the jail, they were attacked. Among the victims of the attacks were Jimmey Lee and his mother. Lee was beaten and then shot in the stomach, and as a later result, dying in the hospital. At a large memorial service for Lee, a march from Selma to Montgomery that would take place on March 7th was announced. The marchers set off for Montgomery, but as they crossed the Pettis Bridge, they were attacked by troopers. As the New York Times reported the next day: “The first 10 or 20 Negroes were swept to the ground, screaming, arms and legs flying, and packs and bags went skittering across the grassy divider strip and onto the pavement on both sides.”
Nearly 100 of the marchers were hurt that day in Selma. The next day, civil rights workers and clergy from across the nation rushed hastily to Selma.
That Tuesday, many marched to the Pettis Bridge, where the attendants stopped for prayer, and then, obeying a federal court injunction, returned to Selma. On March 21st, after the court injunction had been uplifted and the Alabama National Guard had been federalized to provide protection, the march began again. The march proceeded to Birmingham without significant incident of any kind. In this incident, the favor of freedom of speech was upheld being that the protest was peaceful and did not cause