1958 July 30

Frank Wilkinson, Anti-HUAC Activist, Refuses to Answer HUAC Questions

 

Civil liberties activist Frank Wilkinson, who had been leading the campaign to abolish HUAC, refused to answer the committee’s questions about his political associations on this day. As a result, he was convicted of contempt of Congress and sentenced to prison on May 1, 1961.

Wilkinson had lost his job with the Los Angeles Housing Authority on October 28, 1952 because of his political views, and he then became a lifelong political activist, focusing on the abolition of HUAC. In 1960, he organized and led the National Committee to Abolish HUAC, which organized a major anti-HUAC demonstration in San Francisco on May 12, 1960. His organization later became the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL).

It is believed that Wilkinson’s 132,000 page FBI file is the largest file on any single individual. Wilkinson died on January 2, 2006.

Read a biography of 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 (2005)

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

Learn more about HUAChttp://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/huac

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

 

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