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Walker v. Birmingham



Wyatt Tee Walker, et al.


City of Birmingham, Alabama

Petitioners' Claim

That the conviction of Walker and seven other African American ministers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on contempt charges stemming from their decision to disregard an injunction prohibiting them from participating in a Birmingham demonstration, should be reversed on grounds that the injunction violated their constitutionally protected rights to free speech and assembly, and was therefore invalid.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Jack Greenberg

Chief Lawyers for Respondent

Earl McBee, J.M. Breckenridge

Justices for the Court

Potter Stewart (writing for the Court), Byron R. White, John Marshall Harlan II, Tom C. Clark, Hugo Lafayette Black

Justices Dissenting

Earl Warren, William J. Brennan, Jr., Abe Fortas, William O. Douglas


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

12 June 1967


Affirmed Alabama Supreme Court decision upholding the contempt convictions of Reverends Walker, King, and six others.

Related Cases

  • Howat v. Kansas, 258 U.S. 181 (1922).
  • Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516 (1945).
  • Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham, 394 U.S. 147 (1969).

Further Readings

  • Emerson, Thomas I. The System of Freedom of Expression. New York: Random House, 1970.
  • New York Times, June 14, 1967.
  • Time, June 23, 1967.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972