Filed under: First Amendment Issues
Voices: Seigenthaler a champion of First Amendment
by Ken Paulson
Special for USA TODAY
A lead pipe to the head will get your attention.
One day in 1961, Justice Department aide John Seigenthaler was brutally attacked with a pipe by Ku Klux Klansmen as he rushed to protect Freedom Riders arriving in Montgomery, Ala. The Klansmen left John in the street to die.
But John survived, going on to a rich career as a journalist and a passionate First Amendment advocate who would laugh about how Attorney General Bobby Kennedy thanked him for “using his head.” John died at 86 Friday morning in Nashville.