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First Amendment Felon

The Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000-Page FBI File, and His Epic Fight for Civil Rights and Liberties.

In the bicentennial issue of Life magazine that was published in 1991 — an issue given over to the two-hundred-year history of the Bill of Rights — Frank Wilkinson was featured as one of history's greatest defenders of the portion of the First Amendment that defined his life: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."

Frank Wilkinson's long life has been a David-and-Goliath battle against the enemies of the First Amendment. He was jailed on May 1, 1961 after the House Un-American Activities Committee cited him for contempt and then the Supreme Court notoriously ratified this decision. From 1956 to 1975, he traveled an average of 100 days a year in 35 states to warn of the liberties under attack by the FBI and its marionettes. His chief antagonist was J. Edgar Hoover, who, it was discovered in 1984, had compiled a 132,000-page dossier on him.

First Amendment Felon is a lively and witty biography — written by journalist legend Robert Sherrill — that charts Wilkinson's life from a college playboy to a man who may be our most troublesome defender of the First Amendment.

Robert Sherrill
Nation Books
November 2005
ISBN: 1560257792

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Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security, 2nd ed.,
by James X. Dempsey & David Cole

In a vivid and important critique of our government’s response to terrorist threats, two leading constitutional scholars warn that many anti-terrorism efforts needlessly sacrifice civil liberties without effectively protecting national security.

Cole and Dempsey contend that in its response to the attacks of September 11, the Bush administration has already repeated many of the worst mistakes of the past, and is unlikely to make Americans more secure.

“Should be read by anyone who cares about civil liberties.”
-Victor Navasky, The Nation

James X. Dempsey & David Cole
The New Press
2006
ISBN: 1565849396

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Thought Control and Repression During the Reagan-Bush Era by Richard O. Curry

“This is a chilling tale, or rather several tales. In lean and often understated prose, Richard Curry details how our government for twelve years has flouted the law, shown contempt for it. Whether we examine restrictions on art or civil rights, internal security investigations or restraints on the press, the ‘war on drugs’ or dilution of habeas corpus, secret laws or secret government, litmus tests for Supreme Court Justices or intimidation of potential whistle blowers, the pattern is the same: invasion of individual rights and a centralization of executive power.”

-Norman Dorsen, Stokes Professor of Law, New York University Law School, President of the ACLU 1976-1991

Richard O. Curry
First Amendment Foundation
1992
ISBN:

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The FBI v. The First Amendment
by Richard Criley

“Criley has written an important cautionary warning for our time. Drawing upon FBI records, Criley documents the FBI’s secret assistance to conservative activists (in Congress, the media, and right wing organizations) for the purpose of containing a movement exercising and promoting First Amendment rights. That this effort failed to meet its major objective is not wholly comforting as FBI officials had been able to do what, under the law and the Constitution, they should not have been able to do.”

-Professor Athan Theoharis, Marquette University

Richard Criley
First Amendment Foundation
1990
ISBN: 0962770507

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