April 25, 2013
Mary Beth Tinker

Mary Beth Tinker in the Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery at the Newseum. (Maria Bryk/Newseum)

Free Speech Activist Launches Nationwide Educational Tour

Free speech activist Mary Beth Tinker has launched a crowdsourced campaign to raise money for a cross-country "Tinker Tour" during the 2013-2014 school year.

Tinker is using the tour to educate a new generation of students about their First Amendment freedoms.

In 1965 Tinker, then a 13-year-old student in Des Moines, Iowa, her brother and a friend, were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to mourn the dead in the Vietnam War. In a landmark case in 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court found the suspensions to be violations of the First Amendment.

The court declared that freedom of expression should be protected in public schools and that both students and teachers do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

The armband worn by Tinker is on display in the Cox Enterprises First Amendment Gallery.

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