Free Speech Storyline

The Free Speech STORYLINE documents the evolution of Free Speech, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law since the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215.  American INSIGHT’s Free Speech Award-winning film is added to the Free Speech Storyline every year.

Storyline - Team Enough

Team Enough

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2018

“Rich or poor, white or black, young or old.  All Americans are at risk.”

Team Enough is a youth-led group committed to ending gun violence

Storyline - Team Enough
Storyline - Free Speech Fear Free
Storyline - Free Speech Fear Free

Free Speech Fear Free

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2017

“Every law, every regulation, every constitution … derives from the practice of communicating with each other.”

“Free Speech Fear Free” examines the lurking threat of corporate and government surveillance

Storyline - I Will Not Be Silenced

I Will Not Be Silenced

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2016

“It took me that incident to understand my own strengths. They do that every day.”

“I Will Not Be Silenced” graphically depicts emerging rights for women in Kenya

Storyline - I Will Not Be Silenced
Storyline - Honor Diaries
Storyline - Honor Diaries

Honor Diaries

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2015

“We need a whole army of women helping other women.”

“Honor Diaries” features women’s rights advocates with roots in Muslim-majority societies

Storyline: Crossroads

Crossroads:
Labor Pains of a New Worldview

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2013

“Circumstances don’t determine who you are, they reveal who you are.”

“Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview” promotes global cooperation

Storyline: Crossroads
Storyline - Free China
Storyline - Free China

Free China:
The Courage to Believe

FREE SPEECH AWARD
2012

“Free to think, free to speak, free to write, free to gather, and freedom to believe.”

“Free China: The Courage to Believe” documents religious and human rights abuse in China

Storyline - Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

1969 –

“Where there is no freedom of speech, there is no conscience.”

Dutch-American activist, author, and advocate for women’s rights and self-determination

Storyline - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Storyline - Oprah Winfrey
Storyline - Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

1954 –

“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

“Queen of All Media,” philanthropist, first black
multi-billionaire in American history

Storyline - Fall of the Soviet Union

Fall of the Soviet Union

1991

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”
—Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Soviet Empire dissolves into 15 independent states

Storyline - Fall of the Soviet Union
Storyline - Gloria Steinem
Storyline - Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

1934 –

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Nationally recognized leader of the Feminist Movement in America

Storyline - Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

1932 – 2017

“There is a limit on how much information you can keep bottled up.”

Comedian, political activist, and pioneer for mocking bigotry and racism

Storyline - Dick Gregory
Storyline - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Storyline - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

1929 – 1968

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King wins Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence

Storyline - Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana

1928 – 2018

“My goal is that LOVE should cover the world.”

Robert Indiana makes LOVE during the Pop Art Revolution

Storyline - Robert Indiana
American INSIGHT; gift of Robert Indiana
Storyline - Lenny Bruce
Storyline - Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce

1925 – 1966

“My only challenge was to tell my truth, man.”

Satirist whose conviction in an obscenity trial becomes a landmark for freedom of speech

Storyline - Fred Korematsu

Fred Korematsu

1919 – 2005

“If you have the feeling that something is wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up.”

Civil Rights activist arrested for objecting to the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II

Storyline - Fred Korematsu
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Fred T. Korematsu Family.
Storyline - Arthur B. Carles
Storyline - Arthur B. Carles

Arthur B. Carles

1882 – 1952

“A painting is beautiful for its felicitous harmony of colors. Nothing more or less should be sought.”

Artist shocks Philadelphia with new style of Art based on radical French Impressionists

Storyline - Violet Oakley

Violet Oakley

1874 – 1961

“Neither the masculine nor the feminine has any place in art. Art is human.”

Philadelphia artist completes murals in Pennsylvania State Capitol Building and becomes America’s first female muralist.

Storyline - Violet Oakley
Storyline - Ida B. Wells
Storyline - Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

1862 – 1931

“Equal and exact justice be accorded to every citizen of whatever race, who finds a home within the borders of the land of the free.”

Civil Rights activist helps found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Storyline - American Civil War

American Civil War

1861 – 1865

“Liberty is your birthright … and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years.”
—Abraham Lincoln

Civil War abolishes two centuries of slavery in America

Storyline - American Civil War
Storyline - Sigmund Freud
Storyline - Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

1856 – 1939

“The first requisite of civilization is that of justice.”

Controversial neurologist influences 20th Century with his invention of psychoanalysis.

Storyline - Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

1818 – 1895

“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”

National abolitionist leader famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings

Storyline - Frederick Douglass
Storyline - Henry Highland Garnet
Storyline - Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet

1815 – 1882

“No oppressed people have ever secured their rights without resistance.”

First Black minister to address the U.S. House of Representatives and encourage slaves to rebel against their owners

Sojourner Truth

1797 – 1883

“I am the seed of the free, and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.”

Women’s rights activist demands equal human rights for all women.

Storyline - David Walker
Storyline - David Walker

David Walker

1796 – 1830

“Treat us like men, and there is no danger but we will all live in peace and happiness.”

Abolitionist, writer and activist calls for Black unity in the fight against oppressive and unjust slavery

Storyline - US Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights

1791

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

First Ten Amendments to the US Constitution
guarantee freedom of speech, assembly, and worship

Storyline - US Bill of Rights
Storyline - US Constitution
Storyline - US Constitution

U.S. Constitution

1787

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice … and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity

U.S. Constitution delineates national framework of government and individual rights

Storyline - Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

1776

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

Declaration of Independence separates American Colonies from the British Empire

Storyline - Declaration of Independence
Storyline - Richard Allen
Storyline - Richard Allen

Richard Allen

1760 – 1831

“This land, which we have watered with our tears and our blood, is now our mother country, and we are well satisfied to stay where wisdom abounds and the gospel is free.”

Founder, African Methodist Episcopal Church, first independent black denomination in America

Storyline - Free Speech Trial

Free Speech Trial

1735

The press has “a liberty both of exposing and opposing tyrannical power by speaking and writing truth.”
—Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton successfully defends publisher John Peter Zenger by establishing that jurors, not judges, determine the truth in a defense to an accusation of libel.

Storyline - Free Speech Trial
Storyline - Benjamin Chew, Esq.
Storyline - Benjamin Chew, Esq.

Benjamin Chew, Esq.

1722 – 1810

“An opposition of force of arms to the lawful authority of the king or his ministries … is high treason, but in the moment when the king or his ministries shall exceed the constitutional authority vested in them … submission to their mandates becomes treason”

Quaker-born legal scholar, head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System under both Colony and Commonwealth

Storyline - Jupiter Hammon

Jupiter Hammon

1711 – 1806

“… I am writing to you with a design to say something to you for your good, and with a view to promote your happiness.”

Poet becomes the first African-American to be published in America

Storyline - Jupiter Hammon
Storyline - English Bill of Rights
Storyline - English Bill of Rights

English Bill of Rights

1689

“Freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

English Bill of Rights limits power of the royalty; supports democratic elections; and reinforces freedom of speech for all people.

Storyline - William Penn

William Penn

1682

No people can be truly happy … if abridged of the freedom of their consciences as to their religious profession and worship

Penn welcomes immigrants to Pennsylvania

Storyline - William Penn
Storyline - Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
Storyline - Alexander Hamilton, Esq.

Alexander Hamilton, Esq.

1676 -1741

“It is natural, it is a privilege, I will go farther, it is a right, which all free men claim that they are entitled to complain when they are hurt.”

In 1735, Scottish lawyer successfully argues that Truth is a defense against charges of libel.

Storyline - William Penn

William Penn

1670

“Liberty of conscience” is not “a mere Liberty of Mind” but a liberty to exercise religion.

Penn writes “The Great Case of Liberty of Conscience” from his jail cell in the Tower of London

Storyline - William Penn
Storyline - William Penn 1668
Storyline - William Penn 1668

William Penn

1668

“Men must be governed by God or they will be ruled by tyrants.”

William Penn sent to Tower of London for Quaker beliefs.

Storyline - English Civil War

English Civil War

1642 – 1651

“I plead for this nation, and all the honest men therein.”

Civil War shifts power of government from the King to the people

Storyline - English Civil War
Storyline - George Fox
Storyline - George Fox

George Fox

1624 – 1691

“Stand still in that power that brings peace.”

English Dissenter, founder of Religious Society of Friends preaches radical Quaker thought.

Storyline - Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer

1611 – 1660

“Nay, man, I am not now to repent.”

Executed on Boston Common for expressing Quaker beliefs

Storyline - Mary Dyer
Storyline - Anne Askew
Storyline - Anne Askew

Anne Askew

1521 – 1546

“I said that I would rather die than break my faith.”

Evangelical martyr, renaissance writer, woman who refused to submit to the rules of her day

Storyline - William Tyndale

William Tyndale

1494 – 1536

“I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except … in their mother tongue.”

Executed for translating the Bible from Latin into English for the common man

Storyline - William Tyndale
Storyline - Magna Carta
Storyline - Magna Carta

Magna Carta

1215

“To no one deny or delay right or justice.”

‘The Great Charter’ establishes the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king; guarantees the rights of individuals; the right to justice; and the right to a fair trial.