Action, Advocacy, Education… In support of free expression.
Dawn Of A New Decade
January, 2011, finds the National Coalition Against Censorship in new offices. We’ve relocated to 19 Fulton Street, Suite 407, NY, NY 10038, a short block from the South Street Seaport. Our offices overlook the cobblestone street of Schermerhorn Row, the masts of the clipper ship Peking are just outside our windows. In today’s political climate, it’s yet another reminder that we still need to work towards the ideals enshrined in the First Amendment over 200 years ago.
2010 ended in metereological and cultural storms. In early 2011 much of America remains caught in a vortex of political violence and cultural conflict over words and images. Here are the highlights so far this year:
New South Books Publishes Censored Huck Finn
Few writers are as prescient as author Mark Twain, but even he was sometimes wrong. Once he remarked “that only the dead can speak their honest minds,” but apparently the dead can also be censored. New South Books, an independent publisher, has printed a new version of Huckleberry Finn editing out the “nigger” and replacing it with “slave.” For more information read our Blog.
Connecticut School Board Threatens to Cancel Play
In yet another move aimed at protecting students from racially charged language, David Snead, the superintendent of Waterbury CT school district, is attempting to cancel a high school production of August Wilson’s Broadway hit Joe Turner. The reason? The same racially charged term that got Huck Finn and Twain in trouble. Both the high school principal and play’s director are working to insure that students understand the context of the word in the production and have instituted post-performance discussions with the audience. Yet, Mr. Snead is adament at closing the production before the actors hit the stage. Follow the story!
Activist Artists Strike Back: New Museum Opens in Washington DC
In protest against the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of a David Wojnarowicz video Fire In My Belly from the exhibit Hide/Seek last month, free speech activists Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone recently opened The Museum of Censored Art. Visitors will be able to visit a specially outfitted container just outside the Gallery and watch Wojnarowicz’s work.
Smithsonian Secretary Finally Talks to the Press
In a recent interview with reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times, Smithsonian Institution secretary G. Wayne Clough has finally broken a month long silence following his censorship of the Hide/Seek exhibit. In a conversation with reporters he admits that “looking back, sure, I wish I had taken more time.” He also ominously promised what sounds like self-censorship in saying, “We probably have to have a little more laser-like focus when we design our exhibitions.” The interviews precede the Secretary’s visit to Los Angeles this coming Thursday, January 20, where he is expected to be greeted by further protest.
Corporate Personhood Extreme: A Right To Privacy?
The nation’s corporate giants are asking the Supreme Court to rule that they have a right to “personal privacy” just as people do. If the Court ignores the ordinary meaning of the term “personal privacy” and grants corporations their wish to have the same rights as people, as in Citizens United, corporations will be able to block the news media and government watchdogs from accessing important government records that corporations would prefer remain hidden.
- National Coalition Against Censorship – December 2010 Update (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- Censorship 2010 Recap (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- Museum Of Censored Art – Smithsonian Protesters Return with Permits (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)
- Edited ‘Huck Finn’ Causes Uproar, Debate on Censorship (censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com)