Free Speech: A Sacred Challenge

Violet Oakley, William PennAmerican INSIGHT’s Free Speech Storyline traces the bloody path of sacrifice and self-empowerment as the concept of Free Speech makes its way from the invention of the printing press through the centuries to become the core value of the American Constitution.

Following this spectacular story (as depicted in a series of murals painted in 1906 by a young woman from Philadelphia), the message is as relevant today as it was when it first appeared on the walls of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building over a century ago. American INSIGHT Interns spent 18 months of intense historical research on this mural series, and interviewed over a dozen scholars before developing the script of our Free Speech Storyline.

Educational Aspects

While the Free Speech Storyline is designed to appeal to a wide range of ages, special care will be taken to engage high school students in the story’s impact, particularly through American INSIGHT’s interactive curriculum component.

One of the objectives for the Free Speech Storyline is to provide educators with a useful classroom tool. Philadelphia’s former Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas endorses the project’s value by saying, “Both students and citizens will be able to use Violet Oakley’s murals to explore and analyze historical beliefs at the center of the founding of the Commonwealth and ultimately, our nation.”

The Free Speech Storyline has been produced by American INSIGHT’s Internship Program. By developing real-life and virtual communities among students, citizens, scholars, educators, and the general public American INSIGHT continues its 30 year history of creating dialogues about Free Speech.

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