Angelo Herndon: Race, Communism, Free Speech, and Atlanta

The College of Law’s Henry J. Miller Distinguished Lecture Series continues on October 21st, when Harvard’s Mark Tushnet will talk about a case that originated in Atlanta in a lecture entitled “The Hughes Court’s Treatment of Radical Dissent: The Angelo Herndon Case.”

Angelo Herndon, an African-American, member of the Communist Party, and labor organizer, was arrested in Atlanta in1932 for attempting to “incite insurrection” and convicted the following year. His case, which went to the Supreme Court in 1935 and 1937, features a stunning cast of characters, including future 5th Circuit judge Elbert Parr Tuttle, renowned historian C. Vann Woodward, poets Don West and Langston Hughes, and Charles Hamilton Houston, special counsel for the NAACP. The final verdict in Herndon v. Lowry was a narrow 5-4 reversal of Herndon’s conviction.

Of course, the Law Library has much more information on this fascinating case. The Law Library has put together a display of books and videos related to the case and its major issues, and you can find the complete record of the case in U. S. Supreme Court Records & Briefs, a database available through the College of Law Library.