Speaker Series

First Amendment Speaker Series

Our Speaker Series are live, online presentations that cover various First Amendment topics.

We invite various scholars, authors, professors, poets, and experts to present engaging and relevant talks that encourage our audience to ask questions and consider how they live their First Amendment freedoms.


From the Constitution to COVID: Religious Freedom in America

Author and law professor Mike Meyerson, a gifted storyteller and animated speaker, explores the themes and history of religious freedom in the United States, from the founding fathers to present-day issues surrounding COVID.

Watch presentation >


Ryan Headshot

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Dream Deferred to a Nightmare

Ryan M. Jones, historian and Museum Educator at the National Civil Rights Museum – the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination – presents on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.

Watch presentation >

Regie Gibson

To Make a Poet Black: Notes from a Literary-Musician

In this hybrid of lecture & performance, Regie Gibson explores the creative power of speech in the modern Black spoken-word tradition. 

Watch presentation >

Hasan Jeffries

Bending the Arc of the Moral Universe: African Americans’ Struggle to Live Their Freedoms

Hasan Jeffries, professor of history at The Ohio State University on Civil Rights and Black Power Movement, and author of Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt presents on the fight African Americans have taken to live their First Amendment freedoms.

Watch presentation >

Ian Rosenberg

“The Fight For Free Speech: Ten Cases That Define Our First Amendment Freedoms”

Ian Rosenberg, author of The Fight For Free Speech: Ten Cases that Define our First Amendment Freedoms is interviewed by First Amendment expert and First Amendment Museum board secretary Gene Policinski.

Watch presentation >

Bettye Kearse

“The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family

Dr. Bettye Kearse, author of The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family is joined by filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley as they present Eduardo’s new film based on her memoir.

Watch presentation >

chet lunner

Fake News, the First Amendment, and the State of American Media

Former Maine newspaper editor Chet Lunner brings a unique, 360-degree perspective of current affairs and “fake news” as a veteran journalist, 9/11 government spokesman, and crisis communications expert. He looks at the history and impact of misinformation, how Maine’s founders predicted the dangers of “alternative facts,” and some solutions that anyone can employ.

Watch presentation >

Kate Dempsey

Speaking Up for Nature: Thoughts on Conservation and the First Amendment

Kate Dempsey, State Director of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Maine discusses the intersection of the First Amendment and conservation. She touches on the TNC’s founding by Rachel Carson, shares her own experience working as a community activist and Congressional aide, and looks to where this important movement is headed.

Watch presentation >

Kate McBrien - Malaga Island

Malaga Island, Fragmented Lives

Kate McBrien, Maine State Archivist, explores the true history of the community who lived on Malaga Island, off the coast of Phippsburg, Maine, in the late 1800s. She examines the individuals who were part of this community and the state’s actions to evict them from their homes through the complex history of racism and eugenics in Maine.

Watch presentation >

Banning Foreign Influence

Banning Foreign Involvement in Maine Referendums?

Two attorneys well-versed in proposed bills to ban foreign involvement in Maine referendums, Timothy Woodcock and John Brautigam, discuss the merits and First Amendment implications of such bills. The session was moderated by Jonathan Piper, Of Counsel at PretiFlaherty, LLP. 

Watch presentation >

Eric Shytle

All About First Amendment Audits

Lawyer Eric Shytle explains the legal and historical background of the First Amendment Audits phenomenon – in which citizen activists videotape in public spaces – as well as ways on how staff in public places can prepare for this practice.

Watch presentation >

The above links are from pre-recorded events. Register for an upcoming, live Speaker Series event.