(TULSA)—Celebrating 100 years of advocacy on free expression, free speech, and literary culture, PEN America will present a discussion “Free Speech & Hate: History’s Lessons” on Thursday, April 27 at the Tulsa Press Club (415 S Boston Ave #23), the final event in its free Flashpoints series examining the intersection of free speech and civil liberties.

The in-person discussion from 7-8:30 pm CT will feature Karlos Hill, advisor to the President for Community Engagement and Regents’ Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, as moderator, with two panelists: Harvard Law School’s Michael R. Klein Professor Randall Kennedy, and Jennifer Ho, Asian American Studies professor and director of the Center for Humanities and the Arts at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

By examining instances when the use of racial slurs, attacks on marginalized groups, and controversial creative expressions have sparked cultural change, this humanities discussion will tackle the question of how a diverse, democratic society can defend free speech while also confronting bigotry and discrimination. The panelists will frame their discussion on the tensions between free speech and hate speech through historical examples, including the Matal v. Tam landmark decision which found that racially offensive trademarks, in this case the “The Slants” or similarly, the football team name “The Redskins,” enjoy full freedom of speech protection under the First Amendment.

The event is presented in partnership with OU-Tulsa’s Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture, the American Historical Association, Tulsa Press Club and Magic City Books. Flashpoints is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The event is open to the public at no charge. 

What:              PEN America Discussion: Flashpoints – Free Speech & Hate: History’s


Who:               Karlos Hill with Scholars Randall Kennedy and Jennifer Ho

When:             Thursday, April 27, 2023 | 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm CT

Where:            Tulsa Press Club, 415 S Boston Ave #23, Tulsa, OK

About PEN America

PEN America’s centenary began last May 23 in New York at its annual Literary Gala, which was highlighted by the unveiling of a fireproof edition of Margaret Atwood’s best seller The Handmaid’s Tale (sold by Sotheby’s for $130,000 to benefit PEN’s work) and continues through the 2023 gala next May. The commemoration included an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society PEN America at 100; a daylong public symposium Words on Fire in New York City with a lineup of literary stars including Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ayad Akhtar, Jennifer Finney Boylan, and Dave Eggers, among others; as well as Flashpoints, which continues in cities nationwide through 2023.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.