William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
The filmmakers’ website for Disturbing the Universe contains additional video, a list of upcoming community screenings, and tips on how to participate in promoting the film and its community engagement campaign.
The Huffington Post: William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
Filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler write about why they decided to make a film about their father, and what they discovered along the way.
William Moses Kunstler (WMK) Fund for Racial Justice
This fund supports the WMK Racial Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, makes grants to fierce and energetic projects to help guarantee Kunstler’s legacy, and helps to coordinate and implement projects and initiatives in the interest of racial justice. In the last year, the Fund has begun to investigate how the “War on Drugs” is being fought across the country.
My Life as a Radical Lawyer (New York: Carol Publishing Corporation, September 1994)
In his own words, William Kunstler (with co-writer Sheila Isenberg) discusses the seminal events of his life and career, including the Chicago Conspiracy Trial and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Kunstler passed away in 1995, a year after the book was published.
William M. Kunstler: The Most Hated Lawyer in America (New York: New York University Press, 1980)
In this book, author David J. Langum, a law professor at Stanford University and legal historian, recounts the historical events, professional landmarks and personal choices that made Kunstler such a well-known and controversial lawyer.
Politics on Trial: Five Famous Trial of the 20th Century (New York: Ocean Press, 2003)
This book, authored by William Kunstler, excerpts important details of five landmark trials of the 20th century. The cases reviewed include the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” the Scottsboro Nine Trial, the Rosenbergs Trial and the Engel, Education & God Trial.
The Emerging Police State: Resisting Illegitimate Authority
(New York: Ocean Press, 2004)
The Emerging Police State includes unpublished speeches of William Kunstler, including transcripts of secretly recorded speeches from Kunstler’s FBI files.
The New York Times: Word for Word/William M. Kunstler; May It Displease the Court: Quotations of a Radical Lawyer
This brief article, written shortly after Kunstler’s death, sheds light on his unique, often contradictory character and offers a raw glimpse of the distinctive views that have made him a legendary legal figure. (September 19, 1995)
The New York Times: Still Radical After All These Years; At 74, William Kunstler Defends Clients Most Lawyers Avoid
This article was written after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and focuses on the trial of the accused bombers and Kunstler’s role as high-profile lawyer for the defense. It highlights Kunstler’s representation of political assassin El Sayyid A. Nosair, and details some of the daily abuse Kunstler suffered in the form of insults, threats and attacks. (July 6, 1993)
Civil Rights Law
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Founded over a century ago, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots–based civil rights organization. Today, its more than half-million members and supporters advocate for civil rights in their communities by conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country, including First Amendment rights, equal protection under the law, due process, and privacy. The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of the population that have traditionally been denied them, including minorities, women and people with disabilities. Their website offers updates and action alerts about their work.
American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI)
This nationally recognized civil rights organization focuses on assisting organizations throughout the country in their efforts to educate the public about racial and gender preferences, assisting federal representatives with public education on the issue, and monitoring implementation and legal action in California’s Proposition 209 and Michigan’s Proposal 2. Visit their website for resources about a number of related issues, including affirmative action policy in America.
Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights
This bipartisan organization established in 1982 monitors the civil rights policies and practices of the federal government and seeks to improve race relations and make progress on other civil rights issues. The Commission’s research, reports and recommendations work to advance equal opportunity, stave off attacks on civil rights and provide better educational opportunities for poor children, minority children, limited English proficiency children and children with disabilities.
The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (Athens: University of Georgia, 2006)
In this book, authors Renee Christine Romano, a history professor, and Leigh Raiford, an American studies professor, offer a collection of essays that examines the way the Civil Rights era is now remembered. The book is organized in four parts analyzing how the era is officially remembered and commemorated; the role of visual culture in representing the movement; elements that have been ignored in “official” narratives; and the way the movement is used in contemporary political struggles, including the push for gay rights.
Facing History and Ourselves
Since 1976, Facing History and Ourselves has offered in-depth professional development services, curricular resources and ongoing support to educators and students in the areas of history, social studies and language arts. The organization is dedicated to helping teachers around the world lead their students in a critical examination of history, with particular focus on genocide and mass violence. Facing History and Ourselves has many resource books, study guides, videos, lesson plans and web links to help students explore the U.S. civil rights movement, especially as it relates to issues of identity, belonging, justice, memory, democracy and civic engagement.
The New York Times: Right to Free Speech Collides With Fight Against Terror
This article from The New York Times examines the struggle of addressing the legal needs of militant groups amid threats of terrorism and sheds light on the ongoing challenges of interpreting the application and reach of civil rights law in society today. (February 10, 2010)
Criminal Justice (Right to a Fair Trial/Right to Representation)
National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA)
The NCJA represents state, tribal and local governments on crime prevention and crime control issues. Its members represent all facets of the criminal and juvenile justice community, from law enforcement, corrections, prosecution, defense, courts, victim-witness services and educational institutions to federal, state and local elected officials. The website offers information on grant opportunities, related U.S. government sites, non-profit organizations and legal information.
The Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Visit their website to see their blog, which was created to advance discussion about issues related to Vera’s work and their resources section, which features interviews with leading figures in the field.
The Crime Report (TCR)
Designed for those who want to probe beyond the daily crime headlines and political rhetoric, TCR is the nation’s only comprehensive guide to all facets of the criminal justice system. It is a collaborative effort by two national organizations that focuses on encouraging quality criminal justice reporting: The Center on Media, Crime and Justice, the nation’s leading practice-oriented think tank on crime and justice reporting, and Criminal Justice Journalists, the nation’s only membership organization of crime-beat journalists.
The Sentencing Project
The Sentencing Project is a national organization working for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing law and practice, and alternatives to incarceration. It was founded in 1986 to provide defense lawyers with sentencing advocacy training and to reduce the reliance on incarceration. As a result of The Sentencing Project’s research, publications and advocacy, many people know that this country leads the world in incarceration, that five million Americans can’t vote because of felony convictions, and that thousands of women and children have lost welfare, education and housing benefits as the result of convictions for minor drug offenses.
And Justice for Some: Differential Treatment of Youth of Color in the Justice System (January 2007)
This report produced by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency examines data and the juvenile court processing system to understand the disproportionate representation of racial or ethnic minorities found in all stages of the juvenile justice system. While public attention has tended to focus on the disproportionate number of youth of color in confinement, this study finds that overrepresentation is often a product of actions that occur at earlier points in the juvenile justice system, such as the decision to make the initial arrest, the decision to hold a youth in detention pending investigation, the decision to refer a case to juvenile court, the decision to waive a case to adult court, the prosecutor’s decision to petition a case, and the judicial decision and subsequent sanction.
African American World: Timeline — Civil Rights Era (1954-1971)
Visit African American World‘s detailed timeline of the Civil Rights era to learn more about the atmosphere surrounding the key civil rights cases William Kunstler represented. The timeline offers links to related PBS resources and segments on NPR.
Independent Lens: CHICAGO 10
When anti-war protestors clashed with police forces during the Democratic National Convention, the resulting Chicago Conspiracy Trial was a media circus that pitted courtroom authorities against movement leaders. Blending original animation and rare archival footage, Brett Morgan’s Chicago 10 tells the story of ten American who dared to take a stand. (October 2, 2008)
American Experience: Eyes on the Prize: The Attica Prison Riot
Eyes on the Prize, a 14-hour television series, covers all of the major events of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954–1985. The website for the series includes a timeline of events, including the Attica Prison Riot, at which William Kunstler tried to negotiate an accord between the prisoners and the authorities. Watch video, see photos and read press about the riot. (August 23, 2006)
News & Notes: Daughters Remember Late Father, The Infamous Civil Rights Lawyer
Host Michel Martin speaks with Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, who made the documentary about their father, and life as the daughters of a man who did not shy away from taking chances. (November 19, 2009)
News & Notes: Fire Sparked Push to End Vietnam War
A look back on the Catonsville 9, a group of Catholic protesters who became a flashpoint during the antiwar movement. Kunstler defended them in one of his first Civil Rights cases. (May 17, 2008)
News & Notes: Iowa Considering Racial Impact in Sentencing Laws
News & Notes host Farai Chideya talks with Iowa Governor Chet Culver about a new law, which requires lawmakers to consider the impact proposed sentencing laws have on racial and ethnic groups in Iowa. It applies to crime, parole and probation issues. (May 1, 2008)
News & Notes: The Trials of Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce, a comic and a client of William Kunstler’s, often found himself in trouble with the law for saying whatever was on his mind. Bruce faced prosecutors in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. His biographer believes that while Bruce’s cases never went to the Supreme Court, the comedian played a key role in the free-speech movement. (January 15, 2003)
News & Notes: Central Park Justice
Transcript of a report on the reliability of confessions in the wake of a New York judge’s decision to vacate the convictions of five men sentenced in the Central Park jogger case. All five men had confessed to the crime, however DNA evidence has now linked another man to the attack. (December 24, 2002)
Talk of the Nation: 35th Anniversary of the Black Panther Movement
Talk of the Nation interviews Bobby Seale, founder and former chair of the Black Panther Party, and Earl Neil, pastoral assistant at Trinity Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C. and the priest at St. Augustine’s in Oakland, Calif. where Panthers met from 1967-1973 to reflect upon the legacy and enduring influences of the Black Panthers Party. (August 29, 2001)
All Things Considered: Attica Documentary
Host Robert Siegel speaks to former Attica State Prison guard G. B. Smith and former inmate Frank Smith. During the 1971 revolt at the upstate New York prison, G. B. Smith was held hostage, while Frank Smith was a negotiator for the inmates. Both were featured in the documentary Ghosts of Attica. (September 7, 2001)
News & Notes: Prison Life After Attica
In January of 2000, a decision was finally handed down in the case of reparations for the official brutality in the Attica prison uprising of 1971. Scott Simon talks with Robert Johnson, chair of the department of Justice, Law and Society at American University about the state of prison life today, and the impact that the riot 29 years ago had on inmate conditions. (January 8, 2000)