New York, NY, November 3, 2009 … In recognition of his longstanding commitment to defending the ideals embodied in the First Amendment, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored journalist, author and First Amendment advocate Nat Hentoff.
Mr. Hentoff received the ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize, which recognizes those who have made significant and lasting contributions to the protection and advancement of the First Amendment. The award was presented during the League's annual meeting in New York City.
In presenting the award, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director spoke of the valuable imprint Mr. Hentoff continues to make on American society, and of his fierce loyalty to American freedoms.
"For Nat Hentoff, the First Amendment is a way of life, having written about and advocated on behalf of the freedom of speech and of the press for more than half a century," Mr. Foxman said. "His body of work is an outstanding example of what we had in mind when we created this award to recognize those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the preservation and advancement of the First Amendment."
In accepting the award, Mr. Hentoff stressed the importance of educating our nation's youth about the history of American freedoms and the importance of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
"Many students have very little understanding of why they are Americans and what it has taken to keep alive the foundation of our liberties," Mr. Hentoff said. "How we became and how we were able to stay free is a hell of a story. I am very impressed with ADL reaching out and into our classrooms with such energizing publications as the First Amendment in Public Schools – A Curriculum Unit for High School Students. That publication, like other ADL illuminations of the Constitution, should be in schools across the country."
Mr. Hentoff's writings regularly defend the rights of Americans to think and speak freely, as well as demonstrate how the Supreme Court and local legislative decisions affect the lives of ordinary Americans.
His syndicated column Sweet Land of Liberty, appeared in the Washington Post and newspapers around the country. He was a columnist and staff writer with The Village Voice for 51 years, from 1957 until 2008. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, the New Republic, the Atlantic and The New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for more than 25 years.
His books include: "The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America," "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book," and "Free Speech for Me and Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other."
The ADL Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize is endowed by Dwayne O. Andreas, President of the Andreas Foundation, as a tribute to his close friend, the late Hubert H. Humphrey, who in a long life of public service was a Mayor of Minneapolis, a distinguished Senator from Minnesota and Vice President of the United States. The award is presented to institutions or individuals who, like Hubert Humphrey, have made significant and lasting contributions to the preservation and advancement of the ideals embodied in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Past recipients of the prize include Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, Fareed Zakaria, Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, The Wall Street Journal, William Safire, George Will, A.M. Rosenthal, Meet The Press, C-SPAN and slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (posthumously).