Citation

Fair Play for William Worthy: Cuba, Human Rights, and Worthy v. United States

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Abstract:

In my essay, I assert that the story of Bill Worthy—a story that historians have generally overlooked—is deeply important to civil liberties and civil rights historiographies for three reasons. First, there is a scholarly consensus that 15 constitutional cases shape the contours of contemporary American passport law. In less than a decade, Bill Worthy’s bold attempts to ensure a free press in spite of Cold War travel restrictions spurred the constitutional litigation in two of these landmark cases. No brazen journalist, activist, or other non-governmental official has done more to reimagine and reform the boundaries of American passport law. Second, many of the textured civil rights histories over the past two decades have tended to highlight tensions between the legal and direct action wings of the movement and between internationalist civil rights activists and civil rights Cold Warriors. Yet, Bill Worthy’s extensive civil rights background and international journalism uniquely situated him to bridge the gaps between civil rights generations and ideologies. Third, Worthy’s successful appeal of his conviction demonstrates how activists were able to domesticate international human rights law. During the Cold War, American jurists and policymakers were concerned with how the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties at home would impact the image of America abroad. Worthy’s international struggle for the recognition of the right of a national to return to his own country, a human right protected by the UDHR, provides a case study in how domestic activists were able to bring human rights home. I argue that as many progressives today lament the stagnation in contemporary civil rights law, the life of William Worthy deserves re-examination. Understanding his courage and struggle for freedom may inspire a new generation of human rights activism.
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Association:
Name: 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p365792_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Lovelace, Tim. "Fair Play for William Worthy: Cuba, Human Rights, and Worthy v. United States" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p365792_index.html>

APA Citation:

Lovelace, T. "Fair Play for William Worthy: Cuba, Human Rights, and Worthy v. United States" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p365792_index.html

Publication Type: Panelist Abstract
Abstract: In my essay, I assert that the story of Bill Worthy—a story that historians have generally overlooked—is deeply important to civil liberties and civil rights historiographies for three reasons. First, there is a scholarly consensus that 15 constitutional cases shape the contours of contemporary American passport law. In less than a decade, Bill Worthy’s bold attempts to ensure a free press in spite of Cold War travel restrictions spurred the constitutional litigation in two of these landmark cases. No brazen journalist, activist, or other non-governmental official has done more to reimagine and reform the boundaries of American passport law. Second, many of the textured civil rights histories over the past two decades have tended to highlight tensions between the legal and direct action wings of the movement and between internationalist civil rights activists and civil rights Cold Warriors. Yet, Bill Worthy’s extensive civil rights background and international journalism uniquely situated him to bridge the gaps between civil rights generations and ideologies. Third, Worthy’s successful appeal of his conviction demonstrates how activists were able to domesticate international human rights law. During the Cold War, American jurists and policymakers were concerned with how the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties at home would impact the image of America abroad. Worthy’s international struggle for the recognition of the right of a national to return to his own country, a human right protected by the UDHR, provides a case study in how domestic activists were able to bring human rights home. I argue that as many progressives today lament the stagnation in contemporary civil rights law, the life of William Worthy deserves re-examination. Understanding his courage and struggle for freedom may inspire a new generation of human rights activism.


Similar Titles:
Righting Gendered and Racialized Wrongs? Local Human Rights Ordinances in the United States

Fair Play for William Worthy: Cuba, Human Rights, and Worthy v. United States

Domestic Political Structure and Social Norms: Explaining State Resistance and Cooperation towards the Global Human Rights Regime: The Case of United States and China


 
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