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SAN DIEGO -- On Jan. 8, 1912, the San Diego City Council passed an ordinance that effectively banned free speech in much of downtown.
Section 1 of the ordinance, which was titled "An Ordinance Prohibiting Public Speaking or Singing Within Certain Boundaries," made it unlawful for any person to address any assemblage, meeting or gathering of persons, conduct a public meeting, or give a speech, lecture, sing a song, or take part in public discussion on any public street or alley in an area defined by the ordinance as the "Central Congested District."
The ordinance claimed that the policy was created for "the preservation of public peace, health and safety." Violators would be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine between $25 and $100 and/or up to 30 days of jail time.
In 1915, the ordinance was overturned but the three-year period resulted in a great amount of activism in the city.
To mark the 100th anniversary of this period in San Diego's history, the Centro Cultural de la Raza will host an exhibit titled "San Diego Free Speech 100-Year Anniversary." The opening event will be held on Friday, Jan. 6, from 7 to 10 pm in conjunction with the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.
The evening will include photos from the San Diego Free Speech Fight; a reading from "FLASH" by author Jim Miller, a book based on the San Diego Free Speech Fight, plus live music and refreshments.
Centro Cultural de la Raza is located at 2125 Park Blvd. in Balboa Park.