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Civil rights journalists of the 1950's and 1960's

William J. Brennan, Jr. Defense of Freedom Award Recipients, 1998

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  Next year will mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York Times v. Sullivan.

Not a day goes by when an LDRC member lawyer or editor or journalist does not rely upon the fundamental First Amendment principles laid out in New York Times v. Sullivan.  We believe it honors the memory of Justice Brennan and the spirit of the William J. Brennan, Jr. Defense of Freedom Award to reflect on the great social movement and contemporary reporting that led to that decision.

We propose to dedicate this year's William J. Brennan, Jr. Defense of Freedom Award — established to honor those whose actions have advanced the cause of freedom of expression — to the many journalists, photojournalists, cameramen, soundmen, editors, publishers, and others in the journalistic community whose efforts, accompanied by courage and commitment, gave honest voice to the clearly courageous and committed men and women who participated in what came to be known as the Civil Rights Movement.

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