Published Date

June 1, 2024

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom, Toolkit


African American, Cultural, Current Events in Historical Context, Intellectual, Legal, Political, Social, Visual Culture, Women, Gender, & Sexuality

AHA Topics

AHA Initiatives & Projects, K–12 Education, Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


United States

From May 2022 to May 2023, PEN America and the American Historical Association (AHA) co-hosted Flashpoints: Free Speech in American History, Culture and Society. This series presented the fascinating and complex history of free speech in American democracy to public audiences in cities across the country. In this public event series, preeminent scholars examined how free speech has evolved; illuminated past debates over who has the right to speak; and shed light on present debates about free speech in the context of protest, dissent, and the quest for social change. Learn more about the discussion series at Perspectives on History.

What’s in the Flashpoints Educational Resource Hub?

  • Comprehensive, downloadable Discussion Guides for each panel discussion topic. The guides are appropriate for high school, college, and university classrooms and other group discussions; and include suggestions for curriculum-related learning outcomes and standards alignment.
  • 90-minute long recordings of each panel discussion, including engaging, topical introductions by local performers.
  • 5-7 minute-long videos by the panelists that focus on their “flashpoint” moment of interest.
  • Links to relevant content in the PEN Digital Archive and primary sources.

The Flashpoints Educational Resource Hub can be accessed on PEN America’s website

Flashpoints has been created in partnership with the American Historical Association and made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Videos produced by Phatt Features.



Free Speech & Political Dissent

Entangled Histories: Free Speech & Civil Rights from the 1960’s to Today

Restricted Access: The American History of Book Banning

Censored: Free Speech & Hollywood

Free Speech & Schools

Free Speech & Hate: History’s Lessons