Pics: A Monumental Lesson on Freedom of Speech

   Welcome to Charlottesville, Virginia - the home of Thomas Jefferson.  Below are pictures for your consideration.  You are looking at a Monument to Freedom of Speech.*  It is a slate wall, with chalk provided, upon which ANYONE CAN WRITE ANYTHING THEY WANT.  

     Recent political discussions have questioned the wisdom of unrestricted freedom of speech - especially with regards to internet bloggers.  The complaint is that "anyone can say anything they want." Can you imagine that?  Unrestricted freedom of expression - how dangerous right?  Wrong.  Here are two fine folks I spoke with who seemed completely undamaged after viewing the wall.  They didn't mind posing for a minute of fame on the internet and gave me permission to put their pics up.  

...here we see some of the dangerous free speech chalked onto the slate with surprising revelations...
...and a final head-on view.  Permanently chiseled into the stone wall are inscriptions you can read here.

As far as I know - sticks and stones can still break my bones - but names will still never hurt me.

Let's keep the internet free.

*From the links:
"Designed by architects Peter O’Shea and Robert Winstead, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has created a tangible and enduring embodiment of the concept of free expression. Located directly in front of Charlottesville’s City Hall and beside the city’s amphitheater, the monument consists primarily of a two-sided wall of Buckingham slate, approximately 54 feet long (108’ of writing space) by 7.5 feet high, on which members of the public may express their views, in chalk, on any subject they choose. Permanently inscribed on one segment of the wall is the text of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. On the immediate opposite side is the following quote by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall:

“Above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.”
In addition, the monument’s design includes a podium intended to serve as a contemporary soapbox from which individuals may address both planned and impromptu public gatherings. Inscribed on the face of the podium is the following quote by poet John Milton:
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”"

1 comment:

  1. I should note that this is an unfair representation of the wall - as I think about it today. Often I've been down there on the "mall" and witnessed artists with many colors of chalk creating incredible murals. Well, it rains and washes away the good, the bad, the truth, and the lies.

    I don't know if it rained down there last night. I don't know if anyone washed the wall off.


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