Bob Dylan, NAACP v. Button, Music History, First Amendment, Civil Rights


The law needs music, a truth revealed by revisiting the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in NAACP v. Button through the songs of Bob Dylan and the play Music History. This Essay proceeds in three parts. Part I opens with a summary of the Court’s decision in NAACP v. Button, focusing particularly on the expanded understanding of First Amendment rights related to access to the law that flow from this legal opinion. Part II explains the inspiration for this Essay, Seaton’s play Music History, which reveals the influence of music on law and culture during the civil rights movement. Part III examines the intersections between Music History, the Button case, and Dylan’s songs of 1963 to demonstrate the importance of music to the law.



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