Bill Newman has been a civil rights and criminal defense attorney since 1976 and the director of the western Massachusetts office of the ACLU since 1987. He hosts a weekday radio talk show on WHMP and its affiliated stations in the Pioneer Valley, writes a regular column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette newspaper, and creates -- and is the voice of -- the Civil Liberties Minute®.
In his private law practice, Bill was one of the defense lawyers for political radicals indicted for, and acquitted of, seditious conspiracy; as co-counsel, litigated -- and won -- the first gay custody case to reach the highest court of any state; and for decades has represented progressive political activists, labor unions, and victims of discrimination and police brutality.
The title of his book, When the War Came Home, refers to May 4, 1970, the day the Ohio National Guard opened fire on anti-war protesters, killing four and wounding nine at Kent State University. Those government-sanctioned killings did not engender the revolution at home that some of his generation thought it would. But neither did those killings sound the death knoll for the movement. The stories in this book illuminate how the ideals that the government tried then, and continues to try, to extinguish still flourish, and how they may yet be realized.
There are numerous organizations on which Bill has served on the board of directors including the Rosenberg Fund for Children, Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, the Center for Public Representation, Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Amherst Writers and Artists Press, and Community Homes for Children. The principles and people those organizations fight for also are currents that flow through the book.
Bill's writing has appeared in the Massachusetts Review, Peregrine, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Hampshire Life Magazine, The Republican newspaper, and the Valley Advocate.
He continues to litigate cases for the ACLU, to write a monthly column for the Gazette, and to write new Civil Liberties Minutes each week.
The work continues. The struggle goes on.