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American society was shaped by individuals who spoke the truth supported by the First Amendment. The First Amendment applies to every citizen and person living in America. You have the freedom to practice religion, speak opinion, gather with others, raise issues to the government, and consume news media. As American society evolves, the First Amendment is updated to support freedom of expression.
Public access to information empowers us to form opinions and exercise freedom of speech. Explore The New York Public Library's collection of books, databases, and credible online resources on the freedom of expression.
This archive includes more than 2 million pages of primary resource materials from the records of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The records focus on civil rights, race, gender, and issues relating to the U.S. Supreme Court. The collection includes: legal briefs, newspapers, internal memoranda, client correspondence, and committee reports.
Resources on American government, current affairs, history, politics, public policy, and social science data analysis. Trace the history of public policy issues, analyze Congress' legislation and membership, review political profiles for over 200 countries, and more. Dates of Coverage: 1923-present (coverage varies depending on resource selected).
This database is only accessible at the following NYPL locations: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL); All Branch Libraries
Covers a variety of contemporary debated subjects to explore different viewpoints and develop critical thinking skills. Material is divided into an alphabetical list of subjects (Topics) and concepts divided into categories (Perspectives), supported with articles, images, speeches, and other documentation.
Opposing Viewpoints offers material to support differing views and help students develop critical thinking skills on thousands of current social topics in the forms of primary source documents, statistics, websites and multimedia.
Mixed race group of children carrying a sign: "No Child is Free Until ALL are Free," circa the late 1950s
Daisy Bates takes a walk - Activist Daisy Bates picketing with a placard:
"Jailing our youth will not solve the problem in Little Rock. We are only asking for full citizenship rights"
Marsha P. Johnson pickets Bellevue Hospital to protest the treatment of street people and gays
New York University Weinstein Hall demonstration
Live From NYPL - Raised Voices: Classic Speeches from Feminist Pioneers
On the eve of a historic inauguration, contemporary activists, actors, and writers read speeches from past generations of BIPOC activists that demonstrate the enduring power of citizenship, the ongoing struggle for equality, and the value of a vote. To learn about the speakers in this video and their selections, please visit the event webpage.
LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the support of Library patrons and friends, as well as by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.