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Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1957)

1957: Lawrence Ferlinghetti was the owner of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco’s North Beach.  When the store manager, Shigeyoshi (Shig) Murao sold a copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Murao, Ferlinghetti and Ginsburg were all arrested on obscenity charges.  Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg were prosecuted and acquitted, a landmark ruling for free speech in the sale and distribution of literature and poetry.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, b1919- A New York-born publisher and poet, educated at the University of North Carolina, Columbia, and the Sorbonne. He opened City Lights bookshop in San Francisco and was considered a leader of the Beat movement there. His own poetry includes A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), Pictures of the Gone World (1955), and Starting from San Francisco (1961). Photograph by Harry Redl. Image courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.