The town of Chickasaw, Alabama was owned by the Gulf Shipbuilding Company (the Company), a private corporation. With the exception of its private ownership, the town operated as any other and was closely bordered by and virtually indistinguishable from surrounding municipalities. Marsh (defendant) was a Jehovah’s Witness who stood on a Chickasaw sidewalk owned by the Company and proceeded to distribute religious literature. She was told she could not distribute literature without a permit and that no permit would be issued to her. When she protested, she was arrested and charged with violating Alabama (plaintiff) state law. She argued that her activities were protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, but her argument was rejected and she was convicted. Marsh appealed to the United States Supreme Court.