Show Me The State: Barbara Papish | KBIA

Show Me The State: Barbara Papish

Jan 25, 2021

In 1969, graduate student Barbara Papish hands out an underground newspaper on the University of Missouri Columbia campus. The Free Press Underground issue features a cartoon on the cover depicting police officers raping the Statue of Liberty and Lady Justice. The words “With Liberty and Justice For All” encircle the image.

University of Missouri leaders felt Barbara Papish was not adhering to generally accepted standards of student conduct when she was arrested for passing out the February 1969 issue of the Free Press Underground featuring a controversial cartoon on the cover.
Credit Courtesy of Sandy Davidson.

University of Missouri leaders are not happy about the controversial image. Barbara is arrested and quickly expelled for not following “generally accepted standards of conduct” by students.  

That’s not the last they hear from her, though. Barbara fights back for her free speech rights on campus and ends up challenging the university all the way up to the Supreme Court. The repercussions set a precedent still followed today. 

*Editorial note: Paul Wallace who is featured in this episode died before publication.