2006 January 2

Frank Wilkinson, Anti-HUAC Activist, Dies


Frank Wilkinson was a longtime civil liberties activist, most noted for his leadership of the campaign to abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). He was fired from the Los Angeles Housing Authority on October 28, 1952, because of his left-wing political associations and, unable to find work, he became a full-time political activist. He played a major role in organizing the anti-HUAC demonstrations in San Francisco in 1960 (April 4, 1960; May 12, 1960). Called before HUAC in 1958, he refused to answer questions under the First Amendment, was cited for contempt of Congress and sentenced to prison on May 1, 1961, serving nine months. The FBI file on him consisted of 132,000 pages, and it is believed to be the largest file on any single individual.

Read Wilkinson’s Biography: Robert Sherrill, First Amendment Felon: The Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000 Page FBI File and His Epic Fight for Civil Rights and Liberties (2005)

Watch Operation Abolition, a documentary about the San Francisco HUAC Protests:

Watch an interview with Frank Wilkinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMAE8iun_RU

Frank Wilkinson’s work lives on at the Defending Dissent Foundation: http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/

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