Act 10 and Academic Freedom

Nov 15, 2017

One of the most controversial acts passed by the 1958 Arkansas General Assembly was Act 10, which required state employees to list their political affiliations. The pro-segregation legislation went hand-in-hand with its fellow traveler of fervent anti-communism during the McCarthy era. It targeted purported subversives and enemies of the state, particularly members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which Act 115 barred from state employment. Challenged in the courts by Little Rock teachers and a University of Arkansas professor, backed by NAACP and American Association of University Professors attorneys, the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court overturned the law on the basis that it deprived teachers in Arkansas of their “rights to personal, associational, and academic liberty.”