Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No One Ever Said That Freedom is Free

I received my ACLU Newsletter this evening, and it's a 90th anniversary edition. Surely, Americans' struggles for civil liberties goes far beyond the 90 years of the ACLU's existence, but the newsletter offers a sort of retrospective of civil liberties struggles that reminds me 21st century struggles represent one mark in a long history.

Here are the highlights. Can you add others?

1920s. Fight against the Sedition act which criminalized "disloyal" statements during wartime, and Ku Klux Klan violence and lynchings in the South. ACLU fought against arrest and deportation of resident aliens deemed "radical" by some.

1930s. More violence against African Americans, including the Scottsboro cases  where 8 African American men were accused of raping white women. Literature censured, including the banning of James Joyce's Ulysses. Labor organizing and picketing decriminalized.

1940s. Unjust detention of 120,000 American citizens of Japanese origin.

1950s. The decade of the blacklist, rendering it impossible for many to get jobs because of their outspoken "UnAmerican beliefs." Rossellini's film The Miracle censored (story about a peasant woman who thinks she is impregnated by Saint Joseph.)

1960s. The decade of civil rights struggles for African Americans and other ethnic minorities. Successful Supreme Court case  which struck down the law banning the teaching of evolution. (And now we're fighting that battle all over again).Religion banned from public school curricula.

1970s. Abortion rights secured in 1973 (another battle we're fighting all over again). Struggles around gender equality. Watergate Scandal fells the Nixon presidency and causes a crisis in government. (This is the first time I started to question the infallibility of our leaders).

1980s. Right to abortion struggles continue. HIV/AIDS epidemic brings Gay movement to the spotlight and makes the struggle harder.

1990s. Continued for womens rights, equality in the workplace, affirmative action.

2000s. In my opinion the Bush Administration takes the prize for subjugating civil rights.