1941 July 28

California Un-American Activities Hearings Begin


This day marked the first public hearings by California Joint Fact-Finding Committee, modeled after the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), to investigate alleged subversive activities in the state. The committee was founded on January 27, 1941, with Jack B. Tenney as its chair, and is generally referred to as the Tenney Committee.

As did HUAC, the Tenney Committee used guilt-by-association to smear liberal and left-wing individuals and groups as being either Communist or Communist sympathizers. Individuals who were “named” by HUAC or the Tenney Committee did not have an opportunity to confront people who made allegations about them and rebut the charges.

Learn more about the Tenney Committee: Edward L. Barrett, The Tenney Committee: Legislative Investigation of Subversive Activities in California (1951)

Learn more about the history of HUAC: Walter Goodman, The Committee: The Extraordinary Career of the House Committee on Un-American Activities (1968)

Watch a documentary on the history of HUAC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Z5aYU6x0o

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