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Symbolic Speech Of Civil Rights Protesters Protected

1961

In Garner v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the convictions of five African Americans for disturbing the peace when they staged a sit-in at an all-white restaurant to protest segregation. Referring to earlier court opinions protecting symbolic speech, Justice John Harlan explains that a sit-in demonstration “is as much a part of the free trade of ideas as is verbal expression.”