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Wiegand And Wiegand Group Presentation

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Wiegand And Wiegand Group Presentation

  1. 1. Books On Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland By Shirley A. Wiegand and Wayne A. Wiegand Sarah Benefield Bill Davis Amanda Graves Dana Littmann
  2. 2. Books on Trial <ul><li>Books on Trial recounts the raid of the Progressive Book Store in Oklahoma City on August 17, 1940, and the subsequent arrests of the proprietors and patrons present, as well as the raids on the homes of the proprietor and known affiliates. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Books on Trial <ul><li>The book also describes the trials of several of the arrested persons, who were charged with criminal syndicalism, as well as the appeals on the basis of the constitutionality of the criminal syndicalism law. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Criminal Syndicalism <ul><li>Criminal syndicalism was introduced into law in Oklahoma in March of 1919. </li></ul><ul><li>The bill for the law was initiated by Luther Harrison and was based on a law already in effect in Oregon. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Oregon’s Definition <ul><li>Oregon defined criminal syndicalism as advocating crime, physical violence, arson, destruction of property, sabotage, or other unlawful acts or methods, as a means of accomplishing or effecting industrial or political revolution, or for a profit. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Criminal Syndicalism <ul><li>Oklahoma’s criminal syndicalism law states that any person who prints, publishes, or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any books, pamphlets, or printed matter containing matter advocating, advising, affirmatively suggesting, or teaching criminal syndicalism is punishable with up to ten years in prison and a $5,000 fine. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Criminal Syndicalism <ul><li>Likewise, anyone who organizes or becomes a member of or voluntarily assembles with any society or assemblage of persons which teaches, advocates, or affirmatively suggests the doctrine of criminal syndicalism is subject to the same punishment under the law. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Heart of the Matter <ul><li>The central issue of Books on Trial is the censorship of the Progressive Bookstore based on the materials and the political affiliations of the proprietors and customers. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Depth and Detail of Treatment <ul><li>The account of the trial is very thorough; the authors provided day-to-day accounts of the arrests, incarcerations, trials, and appeals, often from the perspectives of multiple defendants, including the way the accused were treated during incarceration and trial. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Depth and Detail of Treatment <ul><li>The book also provides significant background information on the state of the country during this time, and on how the trials affected the country as a whole, as well as what happened to the defendants after the trials and appeals. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sources Used <ul><li>The sources are mostly primary sources, such as interviews and recordings of persons involved in the trials, newspaper articles, court records, plus some secondary sources for the Communism information, such as books. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Style of the Account <ul><li>The authors probably intended for the book to be reportorial, but because of the insights into the feelings of the defendants and the bias the writers present, the effect is somewhat interpretive as well. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Point of View <ul><li>The authors present the idea that people fear what they do not understand. They also demonstrate that when Americans are threatened by different ideologies, they tend to ignore the Constitution, or to at least ignore the parts that do not advance their purposes. They show that civil liberties can quickly be lost when we allow fear to rule. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Intended Audience <ul><li>The book may have been intended for a scholarly audience, but because there is so much bias, it may be more suitable for a popular audience. The book does have a large pool of sources for the scholar to reference. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Surprising Information <ul><li>We were surprised at the mistreatment the accused suffered and how the government and public reacted, or in many cases didn’t react, to the trials. </li></ul><ul><li>It was also surprising that this was a largely unknown case until this book was published. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Surprising Information <ul><li>We were very surprised to find out that the Communist party was so large and widespread in the United States as early as 1940. </li></ul><ul><li>Last, we were surprised to realize that the ALA was not one of the groups mentioned that rallied for the defendants, since criminal syndicalism, particularly in this case, is obviously censorship. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Insightfulness of Presentation <ul><li>The authors achieve insightfulness by the large number of primary sources, particularly by interviewing the involved parties before publishing the book, including credible, pertinent information and giving depth to these characters. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Bias on Debatable Topic <ul><li>Most people would agree that the defendants in the book were treated horribly and that the entire case was wrong. However, this book should have been written with a neutral voice, as it is a retelling of a historical event, but the book is written with a clear bias. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Bias <ul><li>The authors are indubitably biased against the prosecutors and the Oklahoma City government. The descriptions of the prosecutors are frequently negative, such as the first description of Attorney John Eberle as “a short but imperious man who gave orders easily.” </li></ul>
  20. 20. Bias <ul><li>There are times when the authors show the different sides presented by newspapers of the time, but there is very little presented to show the reasons for the feelings against the Communist party, aside from that of racial tension. For instance, there is little information given about the situation in Russia at the time, which would help explain some concerns. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Affect on View of Libraries and Information <ul><li>This book shows that newspapers and other information sources can distort information to suit their own purposes, which in turn distorts historical records. </li></ul><ul><li>Information in the 1940s was much more restricted than it is now, so this book reminds us about the freedoms we take for granted. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Affect on View of Libraries and Information <ul><li>This book has also shown that the First Amendment has often been challenged in the past and will likely be challenged in the future again and again. This is an issue that we as library science professionals will probably have to tackle at some time in our careers. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What Have We Learned? <ul><li>We have learned that in the past information wasn’t always as accessible as it is now, and people had to be careful about the information they accessed. </li></ul><ul><li>We are glad that libraries from this era preserved this information, allowing it to be assembled so that the story could be told. </li></ul>

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