Well-Known Activist To Speak In Northwest Arkansas

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM)– A well-known activist will be in Northwest Arkansas today, talking with both college students and a group of seventh graders.

Mary Beth Tinker, who was involved in the landmark 1969 First Amendment case Tinker v. Des Moines Community School District will address faculty, students and community members during a lecture Tuesday (April 7) at Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Tinker was among a small group of students from Des Moines, Iowa, who in December of 1965, wore black armbands to mourn those lost on both sides of the Vietnam War and to show support for Robert F. Kennedy’s call for a “Christmas truce.” Student participants were suspended from school until they would come back without the armbands. A First Amendment battle followed, and the case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1969 issued a landmark decision upholding the students’ rights to wear the armbands. The case made clear for the first time that all students have First Amendment rights.

Students from Gravette Middle School just wrapped up a project on Tinker, and many of the students are excited to hear what she has to say.  Seventh grader Cally Kildow said, “She (Tinker) was ahead of her time and we need more people like her to stand up for what they believe in.” Seventh grader Lexi Bass also added, “She was an inspiration to many people, including me. I learned that standing up has an impact on so many people.”

The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. in the White Auditorium of Burns Hall on the Northwest Arkansas Community College campus in Bentonville.

The event is free and open to the public.

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