5 Freedoms & a Necklace

02Can you name your five freedoms? Give it a try. I’ll give you a hint. They are named in the First Amendment to the Constitution. If you find yourself struggling after three, don’t beat yourself up. Most Americans apparently can only remember one or two.

The task of recalling our five freedoms is about to get harder. The Newseum in Washington, D.C., has spread the word about the five freedoms for more than two decades. The institution dedicated to a free press is slated to close December 31.

The search is on for a new home.You don’t have to be a news junkie to enjoy the Newseum. I toured the First Amendment shrine shortly after it first opened. I still have the “Not Tonight, Dear, I Have A Deadline” t-shirt somewhere.

Two novel items remain etched in my memory. There was a copy of “Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick,” the first multi-page English publication in America, September 25, 1690. You can also see Katherine Graham’s famous necklace.

During the height of the Watergate saga, Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell declared Washington Post Publisher Graham would get a tender part of her anatomy caught in a laundry wringer.

The Post published. After Nixon resigned, a California dentist fashioned Graham a charm shaped like a wringer. Columnist Art Buchwald provided her with a replica of the missing body part. She put them together and wore them on occasion.

To see this piece of history was a thrill. Certainly, a key reason for the Newseum’s existence was promotion and defense of Freedom of the Press, but raising awareness of all five First Amendment freedoms became part of its charter, as well.

Those five freedoms, if you haven’t remembered them, are:

Freedom of Speech – We spend a lot of time arguing the limits of free speech, but courts have ruled three types of speech, verbal communication, symbolic communication and what some call speech plus, like a demonstration, are protected. Limits on free speech include yelling fire in a crowded auditorium and blocking pedestrians or traffic at your demonstration… (a subscription to the Jimplecute is required to continue reading this article).

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