“We clearly cannot expect the Bill of Rights to be defended by government officials. So it will have to be defended by the people.”
~Howard Zinn, 1991.
218 years ago this week, on September 25th, 1789, the United States Congress passed the Bill of Rights, later ratified by the States in 1791. As part of the foundation for an experimental new kind of government, the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, was designed to protect the basic rights of every citizen. This Bill of Rights Anniversary edition of From the Vault will present classic recordings from Pacifica Radio Archives that shed light on the underrepresented viewpoints of the founding fathers’ intentions, and how those viewpoints, over time, have been woven into our current perception of the protections recorded on this storied parchment.
We’ll begin with Howard Zinn, historian and author of A People’s History of the United States, speaking in 1991 on the bicentennial of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Ever articulate, Zinn reflects on the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights over time, argues the notion that the First Amendment only applies to protect the government, and suggests that only enough free speech exists to give people a false sense of democracy. Following Zinn, we’ll hear excerpts from the Bicentennial Edition of the Bill of Rights Radio Education Project by award-winning producer Adi Givens, as she explores free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project.
ORIGINAL SOURCE RECORDINGS:
PZ0180 The Bill of Rights Bi-Centennial / Howard Zinn MORE INFO
PZ0134.10 Without Due Process MORE INFO
PZ0134.13 Public Libraries and the First Amendment MORE INFO
Click here to purchase a copy of this program or learn more about and purchase copies of the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.
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