Sidney Street Burns American Flag After Assassination of Civil Rights Leader James Meredith Hot

Sidney Street Burns American Flag After Assassination of Civil Rights Leader James Meredith

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While listening to the radio, Sidney Street hears that civil rights leader James Meredith has been assassinated by a sniper in Mississippi.

This so outrages Street that he leaves his Brooklyn apartment with an American flag he owns and burns it on a street corner, declaring to others that "If they let that happen to Meredith we don't need an American flag."

Street is charged and convicted under a New York law making it a crime to publicly mutilate or "publicly defy . . . or cast contempt upon [any American flag] either by words or act."

The Supreme Court will rule in 1969 in Street's favor in the case of Street v. New York, though only on the basis that it is unconstitutional to ban the use of "words" in such a manner. The Supreme Court will ignore the question of whether just a ban on flag burning for the purpose of casting "contempt" on the American flag is constitutional.

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