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Join Clarence Jones for a conversation about his experience representing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the negotiation and litigation process leading to the historic Sullivan decision.
On March 29, 1960, The New York Times published a full-page advertisement written by the “Committee to Defend Martin Luther King and the Struggle for Freedom in the South” and signed by many of the nation’s most prominent African American intellectuals and civil rights advocates. The Montgomery Alabama Public Safety commissioner sued the newspaper for libel. Four years later, in a landmark unanimous decision in favor of the Times written by Justice Brennan, the Supreme Court held that newspaper publications about public officials, even if they contain factual errors, do not amount to libel or defamation unless the claimant can establish “actual malice” by the press. This decision helped to protect journalists reporting on the African American liberation struggle of the 1960s, and thus contributed to the dismantling of Jim Crow in the south.
Co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Constitutional Law Center, Black Law Students Association, and the Levin Center.