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Beauharnais v. Pittsburgh Courier Publishing Co.

April 19, 1957

JOSEPH BEAUHARNAIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE PITTSBURGH COURIER PUBLISHING CO., INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Author: Duffy

Before DUFFY, Chief Judge, and FINNEGAN and SWAIM, Circuit Judges.

DUFFY, Chief Judge.

Plaintiff's complaint herein sought damages from defendant for publishing alleged libelous matter in the January 5, 1952 issue of its newspaper, The Pittsburgh Courier. Defendant is a Pennsylvania corporation, and plaintiff a resident of Illinois. Jurisdiction was based upon diversity of citizenship. The record indicates defendant's newspaper is circulated principally among members of the colored race.

Defendant published in its January 5, 1952 issue an article with a large headline "What's Behind the Cicero Riot?" Plaintiff's photograph appeared as part of the background for the headline. Also, as part of said background, was reproduced a circular or pamphlet with the heading "The White Circle League of America", which listed plaintiff as the founder. The circular was worded as follows:

"The White Circle League of America

"Founder - Joseph Beauharnais

"P.O. Box 531 - Chicago 90, Illinois "Dedicated to protect and maintain the Dignity, Social Edicts, Customs and rights of the White Race in

America.

"Wanted

"One Million Self Respecting White People in Chicago to Unite under the Banner of the White Circle League of America to oppose the National Campaign now on and supported by Truman's Infamous Civil Rights Program and some Church Organizations to amalgamate the black and white races with the object of mongrelizing the white race!

"The White Circle League of America is the only articulate white voice in America being raised in protest against negro aggressions and infiltrations into all white neighborhoods. The white people of Chicago Must take advantage of this opportunity to become United. If persuasion and the need to prevent the white race from becoming mongrelized by the negro will not unite us, then the aggressions * * * rapes, robberies, knives, guns and marijuana of the negro, Surely Will.

"The Negro has many national organizations working to push him into the midst of the white people on many fronts. The white race does not have a single organization to work on a National Scale to make it's wishes articulate and to assert its natural rights to self-preservation. The White Circle League of America proposes to do the job.

"I wish to be enrolled as a member in The White Circle League of America, and I will do my best to ...


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