Marjorie Heins teaches
"Censorship in American
Culture" at NYU's Steinhardt School, Department of
Media, Culture, and Communication.
She's a former ACLU lawyer,
director of the Free Expression Policy Project, and author, most recently, of
Blurbs and reviews for Priests of Our Democracy
Link to NYU Press web page for Priests,
including videos and book events
Other books by Marjorie Heins
Articles, book chapters, and policy reports on free expression
and censorship issues
Contact Marjorie for interviews
Link to the Free Expression Policy Project :
(NYU Press, 2013)
Winner of the 2013 Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award in
In the early 1950s, New York City’s teachers and professors became
targets of massive investigations into their political beliefs and
associations. Those who refused to cooperate in the questioning
were fired. Some had undoubtedly been communists, but there
was never evidence that the accused teachers had abused their
trust. Some were among the most brilliant, popular, and dedicated
educators in the city.
Priests of Our Democracy tells of
the teachers who resisted the
heresy hunt, those who
collaborated, and those whose
battles led to landmark Supreme
Court decisions. It traces the
political fortunes of academic
freedom beginning in the late 19th
century, both on campus and in the
Combining political and legal
history with personal stories,
Priests details how the anti-
communist excesses of the
1950s inspired the Supreme Court to
recognize the vital role of academic
freedom in American democracy.
The crushing of dissent in the 1950s impoverished political
discourse in ways that are still being felt, and First Amendment
academic freedom, a product of that period, is in peril today.
Priests shows why the issue should matter to everyone.
"A masterpiece of legal journalism."
- Professor Alan Wald, U.S. Intellectual History Blog