ACLU History: Dismantling Enclaves of Oppression

Document Date: September 1, 2010

1969 Lorena, Paul, and Mary Beth Tinker – Still wearing their anti-war armbands, the Tinker family learned that the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the right of their children to wear the black anti-war armbands to school.

The ACLU is committed to making the promise of the Bill of Rights a reality for all people in America.

Inspired by the ‘rights revolution’ of the 1960s, millions of ordinary people who suffered from oppression – students, prisoners, soldiers, those with physical and developmental disabilities, and others – discovered their own voices and began demanding fair treatment and personal dignity. The ACLU played an important role in breaking apart the ‘enclaves of oppression’ that held them back and shaping new-found expectations of freedom into principles of constitutional law.

During the decade of the mid-1960s to the 1970s, in particular, the ACLU initiated strategic litigation that helped transform American institutions where the promise of the Bill of Rights had been unfulfilled, if not outright ignored.

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