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Free speech leads to Sinclair’s arrest

May 15, 1923: Upton Sinclair, a crusading writer, climbed the steps of a platform that striking dockworkers had built atop what they named Liberty Hill in San Pedro.

As someone held a candle for illumination, Sinclair began reading the Bill of Rights, making no reference to the 600 dockworkers who had recently been arrested for striking.

Sinclair only got as far as the first three lines of the 1st Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech, before he was arrested.

The incident would lead to the founding of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

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