John Seigenthaler to speak at First Amendment celebration

John Seigenthaler, a longtime stalwart for free speech and civil rights, will speak in St. Louis at the First Amendment Celebration dinner Nov. 29 at the Edward Jones headquarters on Manchester Road, just east of Interstate 270.

Master of cere

monies for the dinner will be Bill McClellan, popular columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The fundraiser is sponsored by St. Louis Journalism Review for the benefit of Gateway Journalism Review, successor to SJR. GJR is headquartered at Southern Illinois University.

Seigenthaler remains a major figure in journalism. He was editor of the Nashville Tennessean, founding editorial director of USA TODAY and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. He has served on many boards and projects involving the media and public affairs.

In his earlier years, he was a special assistant to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy. While working for the Justice Department, he was knocked unconscious in Alabama while trying to protect black college students, known as the Freedom Riders, who were trying to integrate public transportation.

More recently, Seigenthaler appeared on a PBS documentary about the Freedom Riders, and then on Oprah Winfrey’s television program. His son, John Seigenthaler Jr., was a weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News for eight years.

A strong advocate of First Amendment rights and free expression, Seigenthaler also is a critic of false and misleading online vandalism. His controversy with Wikipedia for posting anonymous, libelous statements led to that website revising its policies. He is author of a biography on President James W. Polk and is active in providing scholarships for students.

McClellan has been a columnist for the Post-Dispatch since 1983. He also is a regular on Channel Nine’s “Donnybrook” program.

To obtain tickets to the dinner, send a message to

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