Living the Bill of Rights
How to Be An Authentic AmericanBook - 1998
As the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan told Hentoff, Americans need to know how :American liberties were won--and what it takes to keep them alive...and about the actual people who are not afraid to fight to keep on being free Americans." Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy underlined this need when he wrote, "The Constitution needs allegiance and loyalty and renewal and understanding each generation, or else it's not going to last."
With characteristic eloquence, Hentoff covers the full range of American life in these inspiring and moving profiles and stories and portrays such fighters for the Bill of Rights as a high school senior in Tennessee who is born-again Christian; a black Texas lawyer fired by the local NAACP for representing a Klan wizard on constitutional grounds; Justice William Brennan himself; another Supreme Court Justice, William O. Douglas, the preeminent; and a professional basketball star who, for religious reasons, would not participate in a display of mass loyalty to the American flag.
Adding to the book's breadth are stories about such additional public and private heroes as Dr. Kenneth Clark, a resolute African-American school integrationist when more and more Americans, including some blacks, are abandoning that goal; a Jewish teacher at a black university who spoke out compellingly against black anti-Semitism; a young white mother who refused to allow anyone to stereotype her or her children by their color; a black high school student who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because she believes there is not equal justice for all in this land; and finally, among other paladins of liberty, a Southern lawyer with clients on death row whom he will not abandon.
In Living the Bill of Rights, Hentoff illuminates the basic necessity--and fragility--of our rights and liberties.