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Living the Bill of Rights: How to Be an Authentic American

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Nat Hentoff is one of America's most passionate and prominent writers about civil liberties and civil rights.
In Living the Bill of Rights, he has taken what is too often thought of as an abstract issue and enlivened it by focusing on representative individuals for whom the Constitution is a vital part of life. As the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan told Hentoff, Americans need to know how "American liberties were won—and what it takes to keep them alive." With characteristic eloquence, Hentoff covers the full range of American life in these inspiring profiles and stories about public and private heroes—Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and William O. Douglas, Dr. Kenneth Clark, and students, teachers, lawyers, and others who challenge assaults on the Bill of Rights.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520219816
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nat Hentoff is the author of many articles and books about jazz, politics, and education, including Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee (1992). His syndicated column, "Sweet Land of Liberty," appears in the Washington Post and more than two hundred other newspapers, and he is a weekly contributor to the Village Voice. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America xi
Introduction: "Tell them stories about how our liberties were won and what keeps them alive." xv
1. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas: "Bill's life, like his law, was free." 1
2. Anthony Griffin: "If you take the First Amendment from the Klan, we, as black folks, will be the next to suffer." 19
3. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Part I: "The censorial power is in the people over the Government, and not in the Government over the people." 27
4. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Part II: "Schools cannot expect their students to learn the lessons of good citizenship when the school authorities themselves disregard the fundamental principles underpinning our constitutional freedoms."|p45
5. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Part III: "The evolving standards of human decency will eventually lead to the abolition of the death penalty in this country." 67
6. Dr. Kenneth Clark, Part I: The Last of the Integrationists? 77
7. Dr. Kenneth Clark, Part II: Simple Justice and How It Got Lost: "I saw this white kid, and he was saying, 'Look, this segregation is increasing bigotry.'" 99
8. Color Coding: She Had to Leave the Room Because the Class Was Reserved for African American Students 125
9. Individuals of Cosncience Against the State." "Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards." 131
10. Banning the Bill of Rights and the Rest of the Constitution from Our Prisons 153
11. Nowhere in the Constitution Is There a Mention of God: The Continuing Battles for Freedom of Religion--and Freedom from Religion 167
12. Further Bold Adventures of Men and Women of Conscience 183
13. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy: "The Constitution needs renewal and understanding each generation, or else it's not going to last." 193
The Constitution of the United States of America 199
Acknowledgments 223
Index 225
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