[This article originally appeared in the Winter 1991 issue of Nieman Reports.]
This year the United States has been observing the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. While these rights, incorporated in the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution in 1791, provide many basic freedoms—notably freedom of speech and the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the right to petition government for the redress of grievances, and the right to a fair and speedy trial—other liberties have subsequently been brought under constitutional protection, especially racial and sexual equality. With a keen sense that the constitutional protections for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness sometimes fail, Nieman photographers offer the following pictures in celebration of all forms of individual freedom symbolized in the Bill of Rights.
Theodore Landsmark, a black Boston attorney, was attacked and threatened with a steel-shafted flagpole by a gang of white youths protesting integration of Boston schools in 1976. Photo by 1980 Nieman Fellow Stanley Forman for the Boston Herald American.
Appalachian woman invokes right to bear arms as she stands in defense of her home. Photo by Stan Grossfeld, a 1992 Nieman Fellow, for The Boston Globe.
A child, 2 1/2, who has cerebral palsy, working with his therapist at the Crippled Children’s Society center in Inglewood, California. Photo by Lester Sloan of Newsweek, a 1976 Nieman Fellow.
Mary Farrell, a waitress for 17 years at the Chief’s Club at the Norfolk (VA) Naval Air Station, shows the new uniform miniskirt that she thinks cost her her job. A new manager at the club replaced two older waitresses with younger women who could dress more skimpily. Mary Farrell filed an age discrimination suit, which she eventually lost. Photo by Michele McDonald, a 1988 Nieman Fellow, for The Boston Globe.
Indians, during march on Washington in 1972, speaking at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which they took over briefly. Photo by Steve Northup, Nieman Fellow 1974, of The Santa Fe New Mexican.
Anti-discrimination marchers in Forsyth County, Georgia, after a resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activity in 1976. Photo by 1983 Nieman Fellow Eli Reed/Magnum.
Graffiti on tunnel wall in San Francisco in 1976. Photo by 1986 Nieman Fellow Micha Bar-Am/Magnum.