John Seigenthaler

Posted: August 8, 2010 in John Seigenthaler, People
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John Seigenthaler founded the First Amendment Center in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values. A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Mr. Seigenthaler served for 43 years as an award-winning journalist for The Tennessean, Nashville’s morning newspaper. At his retirement he was editor, publisher and CEO. He retains the title chairman emeritus. In 1982, he became founding editorial director of USA TODAY and served in that position for a decade, retiring from both the Nashville and national newspapers in 1991. John Seigenthaler left journalism briefly in the early 1960’s to serve in the United States Justice Department as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He served as chief negotiator on behalf of Attorney General Kennedy with Governor John Patterson of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. Later, while attempting to aid Freedom Riders who were being attacked by white mobs at the Montgomery Greyhound bus station, he was himself attacked by the mob and hospitalized with serious head injuries. Mr. Seigenthaler served on the 18-member National Commission on Federal Election Reform organized in 2001 by former Presidents Carter and Ford. He is a member of the Constitution Project on Liberty and Security, created after the September 11 tragedies in New York and Washington. In 2002, the trustees of Vanderbilt University created the John Seigenthaler Center, which houses the offices of the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute.


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