Happy Birthday, Nat Hentoff!

June 11, 2012

Nat Hentoff

World-renowned author, civil libertarian, and critic Nat Hentoff turned 87 yesterday. Though we’re a day late, we wish Nat—who we’re proud to say is a member of our Board of Advisors—many happy returns!

Here’s FIRE President Greg Lukianoff writing about Nat’s help on FIRE cases in 2009: 

I should note here that Nat has long been a personal hero of mine. I know this is not a unique sentiment among First Amendment advocates like myself, but since Nat is a very active member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, I have had a unique and cherished opportunity to witness Nat’s tireless efforts on behalf of liberty up close. Nearly all FIRE’s staffers have had the enjoyable experience of receiving a call from Nat, asking for more information about our ongoing cases and marveling at the breathtaking injustices we fight against every day. We’ve been blessed to have Nat’s trained journalistic instincts put to use on behalf of FIRE’s work. For just one recent example, check out Nat writing with his trademark passion about FIRE’s ongoing case at Brandeis University, where Professor Donald Hindley has faced persecution for critiquing the use of the word "wetbacks" in his Latin American politics class. Nat wrote:

If Justice Brandeis were still here, I am sure he would call [Brandeis President Jehuda] Reinharz instantly and would get a response. How I would like to hear that conversation! Said Justice Brandeis: "It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears." And from undereducated college administrators?

This is just one small example out of many, and I’m extremely grateful for Nat’s continuing work for FIRE. 

As are we all—Happy Birthday, Nat!