1952 October 28

Frank Wilkinson Fired From LA Public Housing Job; Begins Long Civil Liberties Career


Frank Wilkinson on this day was fired from his job with the Los Angeles Housing Authority because of his left-wing political associations. He had come under attack because of his opposition to the demolition a Latino neighborhood in the Chavez Ravine neighborhood in Los Angeles, an area that became the site of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball stadium. His opponents used his left-wing political associations as a convenient device for firing him.

Unable to find work because of his firing, Wilkinson became a full-time political activist on behalf of civil liberties. He organized the first national committee dedicated to the abolition of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on October 10, 1960. Wilkinson’s committee had organized the tumultuous confrontation between demonstrators at the HUAC hearings in San Francisco, which began on May 12, 1960. Wilkinson was cited for contempt of Congress when he refused to “name names” before HUAC on July 30, 1958, and was sentenced to prison for that stance on May 1, 1961.

Read about Wilkinson: 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 (2004)

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

Learn more about Frank Wilkinson: http://www.defendingdissent.org/fame/index.php?title=Frank_Wilkinson

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