Each year since 1976, the ACLU of Louisiana has given an award to honor one of our founders, the civil rights attorney Ben Smith. The Ben Smith Award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of civil liberties in Louisiana.
In October 1963, Ben Smith was arrested under the pretense that he was a Communist—his actual crime was organizing interracial meetings, working to end segregation, and promoting voting rights. Undeterred by state persecution—and later exonerated by the US Supreme Court—Ben Smith tirelessly carried on his work for the rights of all Americans until his death thirteen years later. This award is given in remembrance of that dedication to justice.
The 39th Ben Smith Award honoree and event details will be announced in the fall.