Double-down in Defense of Freedom!
Support the Beat Museum and the ACLU!
In 1957, the American Civil Liberties Union successfully defended Lawrence Ferlinghetti against obscenity charges stemming from the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem “Howl.” Jake Ehrlich, the lead attorney on the case, later edited the book Howl of The Censor, which told the story of the trial. On October 3, 1957, conservative Judge Clayton Horn found Ferlinghetti not guilty of obscenity, writing in his opinion “In considering material claimed to be obscene it is well to remember the motto: ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense.’ (Evil to him who evil thinks).”
Though the Beat Generation already was known in New York and San Francisco, it was the “Howl” trial that effectively brought them both notoriety and public attention, and established the Beats as part of a greater battle for free expression. When the San Francisco Chronicle began running headlines like “Battle of the Books Is On” and “Iron Curtain on the Embarcadero,” it seemed to underscore the hypocrisy wherein the US sought to distinguish itself from the Soviet Union on the basis of the very freedoms of speech and press, which the government was trying to abridge in the “Howl” case.
The ACLU has long been an important watchdog of American freedom, speaking truth to power for nearly a hundred years. Sixty years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union put the Beat Generation on the map when they defended free speech in America. Thankfully, the ACLU is just as committed to aggressively defending civil liberties today as they were in 1957.
Please join us in supporting the ACLU’s efforts to defend freedom in these troubled times by becoming a member of The Beat Museum today! If you want to make a more substantial contribution, consider a 3 or 5 year membership period. 50% will be donated to the ACLU!