ANNE BRADEN Obituary
Revered white anti-racist southern activist Anne Braden died at the age of 81 on Monday morning, March 6, 2006 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, ending nearly 60 years of unyielding action against segregation, racism, and white supremacy. Braden was hospitalized on Saturday, March 4, and had been treated for pneumonia and dehydration. READ MORE
Pete Seeger: Unholding His First Amendment Rights
Like Carl Braden, Pete Seeger was charged with un-American activities when he refused to give names. On August 18, 1955, Seeger was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Alone among the many witnesses after the 1950 conviction and imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress, Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which would have asserted that his testimony might be self incriminating) and instead, as the Hollywood Ten had done, refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that this would violate his First Amendment rights: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.” Seeger’s refusal to answer questions that he believed violated his fundamental Constitutional rights led to a March 26, 1957, indictment for contempt of Congress; for some years, he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York. He was convicted in a jury trial of contempt of Congress in March 1961, and sentenced to ten 1-year terms in jail (to be served simultaneously), but in May 1962, an appeals court ruled the indictment to be flawed and overturned his conviction.