On March 29, 1960, the New York Times ran a full-page ad (below) called "Heed Their Rising Voices," an appeal to support the civil rights movement, co-written and signed by Harry Belafonte. Through a series of events and lawsuits, that ad led to a landmark Supreme Court decision in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, which revolutionized libel law and paved the way for expanded news coverage of the civil rights struggle. In the words of Justice William Brennan, the ruling ensured discussion of public issues that is "robust, uninhibited, and wide open."
This is one of many reasons the ACLU of Massachusetts will honor Harry Belafonte on May 22 as we "heed the rising voices" of all those who stand together in support of liberty and justice for all!
Watch this trailer for the film "Sing Your Song," an up close look at Belafonte--one of the truly heroic cultural and political figures of the past 60 years. (Please note that this is an external link to a Vimeo video clip. Please see Vimeo's privacy statement to learn more. For the ACLU of Massachusetts' privacy statement, click here.)
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