First Amendment Writes

Closing event for the annual poetry and songwriting contest hosted by the Music Resource Center and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. This year's judges once again include poet Rita Dove and ATO Records bigwig Bruce Flohr.


I wonder what the caption is of the document Mr. Lane is holding in the photograph above. It must be important.

Steve Jaffe

Deleted by moderator.

Incidentally, from your archives is an article about Mark Lane's sister, Ann Lane (mentioned above as director of UVa's Women's Studies program) and her admitted PLAGIARISM at Rutgers:

COVER- Copycat? Another UVA prof endured scandal

Published May 8, 2003 in issue #0218 of The Hook


Earlier this academic year, another UVA professor became ensnared in a plagiarism debate of her own. In November, The History News Network, a George Mason University-affiliated news site, ran a lengthy story about the case of UVA faculty member Ann J. Lane.

Lane, longtime history professor and director of Studies in Women and Gender, is today something of a Charlottesville icon. But back in 1971, as an assistant professor at Rutgers, she allegedly lifted large chunks from two published articles while converting her dissertation into a book.

The incident had never been publicly covered until the Network learned that Lane herself alluded to it at a conference.

Like some of the popular historians similarly accused, Lane took a defensive posture. She dismissed the story as "prejudicial," accused the author of "sloppy reporting" but did concede that she had made "careless mistakes" based on "sloppiness" by a hired typist.

Lane's rebuttal-- published online by the Network at is longer than the original article and points out that many of the copied passages were footnoted.

"These were not obscure articles from obscure journals by unknown people published long before," Lane responds. "It is so appalling, so transparent, so clearly going to be discovered, that unless I was on a race to self-destruction, it was a whopper of a mistake."

"She may be right," says fellow UVA faculty member Steve Rhoads. "If you were going to [plagiarize], you wouldn't footnote it."

However, Lane's defenses didn't carry much weight at the Network. Copying is "hardly a small matter," said Network editor Rick Shenkman. "Students at the University of Virginia where she teaches have been thrown out for copying."

Indeed, UVA's Honor Code stipulates just one punishment for any form of cheating, including plagiarism: expulsion.

By last November, that system resulted in the dismissal or withdrawal of 48 students caught copying others' papers in Professor Louis Bloomfield's "How Things Work" class. Bloomfield, interviewed by scads of national media including 60 Minutes, declined to comment for this story.

"The Honor Code is outdated," says Lane in a telephone interview. "You don't get expelled from UVA for rape or murder, but you do get expelled for cheating. It's a slave-owner's Code."

Lane notes that she'd even like it if the system of awarding grades were abolished. As for Bloomfield's cheaters, while she acknowledges that their actions were "pretty dishonest," she envisions a system in which punishment involves explaining their actions-- not leaving the university.

Lane also says that it is politics, rather than concerns about academic integrity, that keep raising this incident from her past. An early feminist, Lane is now nearing retirement, but she has long been identified with '60s leftist student movements. "It's Red-baiting again," says Lane, "except nobody cares any more."

Lane confirms that her initial response to the charge was feisty. Quoting her brother, activist/attorney Mark Lane, she defined plagiarism as a tort that implies intentional deception, and threatened legal action. "Use of the word 'plagiarism' in this context is actionable," she says she told a Rutgers panel.

The professor seems to have paid some price-- at least in the short run. The incident ended her tenure-track position at Rutgers, but Lane later won positions at Colgate and UVA, where she currently earns a six-figure salary.

Lane says she was asked about the incident by the head of a search committee when she was being interviewed for the UVA position in 1990.

"Ann has been so open and honest about this," says UVA spokesperson Carol Wood. "It had been dealt with so long ago that it was not an issue."

i am the nephue of roger dean craig the suject of the documenory two me in dallas mark lane helped my uncles case of the cover up in dall on nov 22 1963

by Historians DeLloyd J. Guth and David R. Wrone . Published in 1980.

BTW it is subtitled :


On p. viii of the preface they write :

"We wish to lift the subject out of the quagmire of often bizarre speculations and exploitation by the likes of Mark Lane."

And on p. xxii

" Lane's RUSH TO JUDGMENT provides a classic example of subjective gimmickry , with it scholarly cosmetic of 4,500 footnotes , containing hundreds of substantial errors and repetitions . Quotations within the text have been quietly changed in over two hundred instances from original documented versions , important material has been
excised from the evidence in order to highlight the trivial or to mislead ."

Misleading the House Select Committee :

Mark Lane has been a purveyor of Martin Luther King conspiracy theories too , and he represented King's killer , James Earl Ray ,
before the House Select Committee on Assassinations . After investigating Lane's claims , the Committee chastised him :

" Many of the allegations of conspiracy the committee investigated were first raised by Mark Lane , the attorney who represented James Earl Ray at the committee's public hearings . As has been noted , the facts were often at variance with Lane's
assertions. . . . In many instances , the committee found that Lane was willing to advocate conspiracy theories publicly without having checked the factual basis
for them . In other instances , Lane proclaimed conspiracy based on little more than inference and innuendo . Lane's conduct resulted in public misperception about the assassination of Dr. King and must be
condemned . (House Select Committee Report , Page 424 , footnote 16)

Was Mark Lane complicite in the deaths of over 900 people at Jonestown ?

During the summer of 1978 , Jones hired 'JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theorists' Mark Lane and Donald Freed to help make the case of a "Grand Conspiracy" by intelligence agencies against the Peoples Temple .[1]

Jones told Lane he wanted to "pull an Eldridge Cleaver", referring to a fugitive Black Panther who was able to return to the United States after repairing his reputation . [2]

In September 1978 , Lane spoke to the residents of Jonestown , providing support for Jones' theories and drawing parallels between Martin Luther King , Jr. and Jim Jones . [3]

Lane then held press conferences stating that "none of the charges" against the Temple "are accurate or true" and that there was a "massive conspiracy" against the Temple by "intelligence organizations ," naming the CIA , FBI , FCC and even the U.S. Post Office . [4]

Though Lane represented himself as disinterested , Jones was actually paying him $6,000 per month to generate such theories . [5]

Mark Lane was one of only four people who survived the ensuing debacle .

[1] Reiterman, Tim and John Jacobs . Raven: The Untold Story of Rev. Jim Jones and His People . Dutton , 1982. ISBN 0-525-24136-1 . p.440 .

[2] Ditto page 441 .

[3] Goodlett , Carlton B. Notes on Peoples Temple , Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple .

[4] Jonestown Project : San Diego State University . Excerpted from The Need For A Second Look At Jonestown , Rebecca Moore and Fielding M. McGehee , III , editors . Lewiston NY : Edwin Mellen Press , 1989 .

[5] See [1] Ditto page 446 .

Mark Lane is a Patriot, An American Icon. Mark Lane is Max Steingrout's Personal Hero.