Petitioner made an inflammatory speech to a mixed crowd of 75 or 80 black and white people on a city street. He made derogatory remarks about President Truman, the American Legion, and local political officials, endeavored to arouse the black people against the white people, and urged that the black people rise up in arms and fight for equal rights. The crowd, which blocked the sidewalk and overflowed into the street, became restless; its feelings for and against the speaker were rising, and there was at least one threat of violence. After observing the situation for some time without interference, police officers, in order to prevent a fight, thrice requested petitioner to get off the box and stop speaking. After his third refusal, and after he had been speaking over 30 minutes, they arrested him, and he was convicted of violating § 722 of the Penal Code of New York, which, in effect, forbids incitement of a breach of the peace.

READ MORE