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American Civil Liberties Union

organization schools challenged aclu

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), organization founded in 1920 and dedicated to defending constitutional freedoms in the United States. Its work centers on providing legal aid in cases of violated civil liberties, especially those of political, religious, and racial minorities. From its founding the ACLU has participated in the nation's most important civil rights cases: the Scopes trial (1925), which challenged a Tennessee law barring the right to teach Darwin's theory of evolution in schools; the federal court test (1933) that ended censorship of James Joyce's Ulysses; and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which successfully challenged the constitutionality of racially segregated schools. The organization generated controversy in 1978 by upholding the American Nazi Party's right to march in Skokie, Ill., and to display swastika symbols.

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