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Written by Caryn E. Neumann, published on January 1, 2009 , last updated on February 18, 2024

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The First Amendment Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, seeks to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education. It provides a forum for dialogue on a range of issues, including the textual freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition.


First Amendment Center seeks to promote education and appreciation of First Amendment

The center was founded in December 1991 by John Seigenthaler Sr., a journalist and former Justice Department official under President John F. Kennedy and a longtime advocate of First Amendment rights. In founding the center, Seigenthaler sought to promote appreciation and understanding of the values that are vital to a democratic society.


The center is now part of the Newseum Institute, a nonprofit educational arm of the Newseum in Washington, D.C.


First Amendment Center provides expert testimony on First Amendment

The First Amendment Center does not provide legal representation, fund litigation, file amicus briefs, or engage in lobbying. However, it does provide expert testimony to members of Congress and other government officials, and center staff participate in nonpartisan educational events about the First Amendment.


Since 1997, the center has released an annual State of the First Amendment survey to examine public attitudes toward the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, religion, and petition.


This article was originally published in 2009. Caryn E. Neumann is an Associate Teaching Professor at Miami University of Ohio Regionals. She earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Neumann is a former editor of the Federal History Journal and has published on Black and women’s history.


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