In this incorporation case, the Supreme Court held that local officials could not block an otherwise lawful demonstration because they disliked the demonstrators’ political views.

About two hundred African American students marched peacefully in small groups from a church to the South Carolina state capitol, an obviously public forum, to protest the state’s racially discriminatory laws. A few dozen police officers initially told them they could march peacefully but about an hour later ordered them to disperse under threat of arrest. A crowd had gathered to watch the demonstrators but did not seem threatening, and the police presence was ample. The demonstrators responded by singing patriotic and religious songs until some two hundred demonstrators were arrested and convicted of breach of the peace. Their conviction was upheld by the South Carolina supreme court.Assembly and association, freedom of;Edwards v. South Carolina[Edwards v. South Carolina]

The Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, reversed the convictions of the civil rights demonstrators. Justice Potter Stewart,Stewart, Potter;Edwards v. South Carolina[Edwards v. South Carolina] in the majority opinion, applied the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly to the states, refusing to let the states bar demonstrations of unpopular views in traditional forums. In line with other time, place, and manner decisions, the Court used the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause to incorporate the peaceable assembly portion of the First Amendment and to apply it to the states. Justice Tom C. Clark dissented, defending the state’s action

Assembly and association, freedom of

Brandenburg v. Ohio

DeJonge v. Oregon

Due process, procedural

Fourteenth Amendment

Hague v. Congress of Industrial Organizations

Incorporation doctrine

Symbolic speech

Time, place, and manner regulations