Union City, Tenn., celebrates the First Amendment at Discovery Park of America

First Amendment Festival

By Freedom Forum

The Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation that works to foster First Amendment freedoms for all, hosted its inaugural First Amendment Festival at Discovery Park of America on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. More than 3,000 visitors to the park discovered fun, freedom and fellowship, and explored the rights that Americans treasure. Among those in attendance were U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Obion County Mayor Steve Carr, University of Tennessee at Martin Chancellor Keith Carver, Tennessee State Representative Rusty Grills and The Tennessean’s editor, Michael Anastasi, and First Amendment reporter, Angele Latham.

During the festival, the Freedom Forum announced Latham’s hiring as part of a pilot program funded by the Freedom Forum through Journalism Funding Partners.

To close the day of discovery, Fox News anchor Bret Baier participated in a one-on-one conversation about the First Amendment and his career as an award-winning journalist covering politics, war zones and the White House. “The beauty of the First Amendment is that it’s yours, it’s not anybody else’s,” he said to the large crowd. “There’s a lot of power in knowing that you can determine your own future based on that.” Baier is the author of several books, and his upcoming book will focus on the constitution.

Following the conversation, Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin, of the country music band The Gatlin Brothers, performed some of their biggest hits.

View the full First Amendment Festival photo album here.

“The purpose of the festival was to engage Americans around their First Amendment freedoms and to help them better know, understand, value and defend those rights,” said Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum. “Our annual survey of Americans’ understanding of the First Amendment has consistently shown that we value the First Amendment, but that few Americans know what those rights are. That’s a problem we’re uniquely positioned to address in a fun, compelling and empowering way.”

“With our mission to inspire children and adults to see beyond and an entire section of our heritage park dedicated to our American freedoms, Discovery Park was the perfect location for the Freedom Forum to hold its inaugural First Amendment Festival,” said Scott Williams, president and CEO of Discovery Park.

On Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, area students learned the basics of the First Amendment and examined case studies exploring the five freedoms in classes with Freedom Forum educators. The students’ top First Amendment takeaways were displayed on chalkboards at Discovery Park for visitors at the First Amendment Festival on Saturday.


The Freedom Forum’s mission is to foster First Amendment freedoms for all. It works to raise awareness of First Amendment freedoms through education, advocacy and action, sharing the stories of Americans who have exercised their rights to ignite change. Established July 4, 1991, by founder Al Neuharth, the Freedom Forum is a nonpartisan 501 (c)(3) foundation that advances First Amendment freedoms through initiatives that include Today’s Front Pages, the Free Expression Awards, the Power Shift Project, the annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference, the Chips Quinn Scholars and the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media. In addition to its Washington, D.C. headquarters, it has locations at the Al Neuharth Media Center at the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University.


The mission of Discovery Park of America, a premier world-class museum and heritage park located in Union City, Tenn., is to inspire children and adults to see beyond. Included is a 100,000-square-foot museum featuring nine interactive exhibit galleries, with additional space for temporary exhibits from around the world and a 50-acre heritage park. Discovery Park of America is a 501 (c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations including its principal funder, the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation.

For more information, visit DiscoveryParkofAmerica.comFacebookInstagram and Twitter.


The close family harmonies of Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers have given the trio a signature sound that led to country classics like “All the Gold in California” and “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You).” The brothers won a GRAMMY® for their 1976 breakthrough hit, “Broken Lady,” and reached #1 with several other songs soon thereafter. Along with five career nominations for the ACM Vocal Group, the Gatlin Brothers picked up three 1979 trophies: Single of the Year (“All the Gold in California”), Album of the Year (Straight Ahead) and Male Vocalist of the Year for Larry Gatlin. The brothers were also nominated for multiple CMA Awards including Vocal Group of the Year, Single of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. Larry Gatlin has written songs recorded by Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Dottie West, Roy Orbison, Barry Gibb and countless gospel artists including the Gaither Vocal Band, the Booth Brothers, the Isaacs and many more. Larry was formally inducted into the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the fall of 2019.

For more information on the Gatlin Brothers, visit gatlinbrothers.com or follow them on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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