JAMESTOWN – The Robert H. Jackson Center is hosting a two-day event starting Tuesday to commemorate an historic Supreme Court decision.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette Supreme Court case. Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote the Court’s majority decision which clarified First Amendment Free Speech protection for those with religious convictions conflicting with the routine public school practice of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Among others, the Jackson Center has scheduled Professor Robert L. Tsai of American University’s Washington College of Law, Philip Brumley, General Counsel for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Marie Barnett Snodgrass, one of the named petitioners in the Barnette case, to contribute to this compelling presentation.
The program will begin on Tuesday with an open house at the Jackson Center from 4 to 6:45pm, which includes a docent-led historical exhibition of various visual and interactive presentations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ struggle for religious freedom leading up to the Barnette decision.
A formal program will begin in the Center’s Cappa Theatre at 6:45 p.m. It will include a 15-minute stage play, The Faithful Do Not Yield, which was originally presented for National History Day at the 2017 National Contest. After the performance, Professor Tsai will deliver his lecture, “What Might Have Been.”
On Wednesday The Faithful Do Not Yield will be performed again in the Cappa Theatre at 9:30 a.m. Two illustrated presentations will follow the performance, tracing the events surrounding the two major U.S. Supreme Court cases, Minersville School District v. Gobitis and Barnette.
The Center is honored to invite Thomas A. Loftus, III, the grandson of Justice Jackson and former Jackson Center board member, to read passages from the Barnette decision. A roundtable conversation with Marie Barnett Snodgrass and Louise Gobitis Blanton will follow. At 11:15 a.m. Wednesday the Center will welcome keynote speaker Philip Brumley to deliver his lecture, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Canaries in the Coal Mine of Human Rights.”
Please call the Jackson Center at (716)483-6646 or check its website, www.RobertHJackson.org, for more details.