Sunday, May 29, 2005
Uppie Award Address By James Allen
(Publisher of Random Lengths News)

Publishing a newspaper carries with it an awful lot of responsibility. It carries the response of truly taking words and ideas to a public that is hungry for that. And even though we're told daily that the public doesn't really want to hear the truth, and often we get punished for telling the truth, I know in my heart that the vast majority of the American people, a vast majority of San Pedro's citizens, actually have a deep hunger to hear the truth, and that's why this newspaper has survived.

You know, sometimes, we have copies of this original issue of the Liberty Hill story out on the desk in front there. I wasn't sure, at the time we published this, what kind of impact it would have and how it would be taken by the local constabulary, the conservative element of San Pedro. That here in San Pedro, this oh-so-liberal organization, the ACLU, was actually born out of some momentous fracas with the LAPD. And yet, this one issue Lauren Coodley, the author who was honored here tonight calls the most accurate account of the arrest of Upton Sinclair that was ever published in any newspaper. And you have to realize this was true only because all the newspapers at the time were all corporate-owned. There wasn't a Random Lengths in San Pedro at that time that would actually tell the truth about what was going on.

So, I'm honored to have been able to--sort of like an archaeologist--to dig up this history, this truth, this essential truth about our community that has inspired this event, that has inspired others to plant a monument down at Fifth and Harbor Boulevard. And I believe that this is going to inspire a lot more out of all of you and others who hear of this event. For it's become like Dan Pasley would like to see it. And like I think all of us would like to see it: like a day of national of free speech, a national day for Liberty Hill.

Suzanne and I have toiled long and hard at this "archaeological dig," a sort of digging up the truth and being able to print it. And it has not been always easy. And there have been some great struggles, both financial and physical, that go along with this. But it gives me no greater pleasure than to see a group of people like this tonight that come to honor these people for such a great enterprise as the First Amendment in a town such as San Pedro, on a day like Liberty Hill.

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