100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Mary Beth Tinker

Mary Beth Tinker

Free Speech for Students

“Well, that's My Mom”

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

393 U.S. 503 (1969)

The Thanksgiving weekend of 1965 witnessed the first large-scale American demonstration against the war in Vietnam. Among the approximately twenty-five thousand men, women, and children who journeyed to the Mall in Washington, D.C., to chant slogans, carry signs, and hear speeches by peace advocates were about fifty Iowans. On the bus ride back to the Hawk-eye state, the demonstrators discussed what they could now do locally to make known their feelings about the Southeast Asian conflict. The suggestion that appeared most compelling was that they should begin wearing black armbands to work and school.

Among the Iowa peace contingent were Lorena Jeanne Tinker, a liberal activist, ...

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