Nat Hentoff was born in Boston in 1925. He received his B.A. with the highest honors from Northeastern University and did graduate work at Harvard. He was a Fulbright fellow at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1950. From 1953 through 1957 he was associate editor of Down Beat magazine. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in education and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award in 1980 for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1985 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University.
He has published many books on jazz, biographies and novels, including a number of books for children. Among his works: "Does Anybody Give A Damn?: Nat Hentoff on Education," "Our Children Are Dying," "A Doctor Among Addicts," "Peace Agitator: The Story of A. J Muste," "The New Equality," "The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America," "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book," "The Man from Internal Affairs," "Boston Boy," and "John Cardinal O'Connor: At The Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church," "Free Speech for Me and Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other," and "Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music."
In addition to his weekly Village Voice column, Hentoff writes on music for the Wall Street Journal. Among other publications in which his work has appeared are the New York Times, the New Republic, Commonweal, the Atlantic and the New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for more than 25 years.
Hentoff's views on journalistic responsibility and the rights of Americans to write, think and speak freely are expressed in his weekly column, and he has come to be acknowledged as a foremost authority in the area of First Amendment defense. He is also an expert on the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court, student rights and education.
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