Fabulous 50: Speaker Ban Ends

On 19 February 1968, the courts declared unconstitutional a law banning certain speakers from North Carolina colleges and universities.  Known as the Speaker Ban and passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1963, the law made it illegal for members of the Communist Party, people advocating violent overthrow of the government, or anyone pleading the Fifth Amendment to speak publically at state-supported school, including University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and North Carolina State University.

At North Carolina State, both the Faculty Senate and Student Government condemed the law as a restriction of academic freedom.  Because of the law, noted British-born geneticist J.B.S. Haldane declined to speak on campus in late 1963 because he had once edited a communist journal. 

On 23 February 1968, the Technician editorialized that "the gag law was here, was fought, was changed, and finally died a respectable death.  For the benefit of everyone concerned, it should stay that way."

Additional information about the Speaker Ban

Technician article about J.B.S. Haldane

Technician article about the Speaker Ban being declared unconstitutional

NCSU Student Body President Wes McClure on the Speaker Ban (oral history excerpt)

North Carolina History Project article about Speaker Ban

NCPedia article about the Speaker Ban