Black Movements in the US - Fall 2008 : The Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms (CCPAF)
This page last changed on Dec 09, 2008 by josantag.
The Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms (CCPAF) was a committee comprised of men and woman who as public interested citizens and leaders in community, labor, and religious organizations who joined together in Los Angeles County to help preserve the Rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.
In 1952 CCPAF was formed to oppose the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). CCPAF argued that HUAC violated the First Amendment rights of the citizens who were called before it to testify about their political beliefs and associations. To further the work of the organization, CCAPF held rallies, placed newspaper ads, distributed pamphlets, initated letter writing campaigns and put on fundraising events.
In March of 1954, the CCPAF formed a coalition with the National Council of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (ECLC). It was as a representative of ECLC that Wilkinson was subpoenaed by HUAC in 1958 to appear before the HUAC hearings in Atlanta, GA. Ultimately, Wilkinson was cited for contempt of Congress and was sentenced to a year in prison.
By 1956, strategies were being developed to abolish HUAC or at least stop appropriations to sustain it. In 1957, the CCPAF and ECLC initiated a campaign to abolish it. Previously, the organizations had supported the victims of hearings, opposed its activites and questioned the legality of its exsistence, while not necessarily focusing on its abolition.
In 1956, CCPAF intervened a hearing for 66 subpoenas by raising legal fees, providing collective legal briefing, distributing leaflets and publicizing the hearings through press releases, radio, television and newspaper ads urging the public to attend.
CCPAF continued as an organization until 1966 when the executive board dissolved it and joined forces with the National Committee Against the House Un-American Activities (NCAHUAC). CCPAF then became known as Southern Californias to Abolish HUAC. In 1969, HUAC's name was changed to House Committe on Internal Security (HISC) so NCAHUAC became NACHUAC/HISC. In 1970 the name was changed again to National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL).
HUAC/HISC was abolished in 1975. NCARL has continued to work against legislative violations of the Consitution. A major project in the late 1970s was the campaign against passage of the Criminal Code Reform bill which contained several sections NCARL believed to be in violation of the First Amendment.
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Frank Wilkinson was born on August 16, 1914 in Charlevoix, Mich.. His father was a doctor while his mother was French Canadian. He was born the youngest of four.He lived in Arizona until he was 10 years old and then moved to California. He attended Beverly Hills High School and The University of California at Los Angeles where he graduated in 1936. His family were devoted Methodists and Republican. However, later in his life he lost his religion and felt adrift.
Frank Wilkinson is the founder of The Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms (CCPAF). He started this organization after losing his job with the City of Los Angeles Housing authority because he refused to take a loyalty oath. He was accused of being a communist throughout his life, however, when asked about his political stance he declined to comment on whether or not he is a communist which cause an uproar. He did join the Communist Party in 1942 but left it in 1975.
He also started a project to replace the sprawling Mexican-American neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine. In 1971 he spent years in jail while the Dodger Stadium was being built but after he was released he was determined to fight for the committee's abolition and continued for the next decade to travel the country giving speeches and protesting through his National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, which was based in Los Angeles.
In 1999 he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Civil Liberties Union. Four years earlier the city of Los Angeles issued a citation which praised Wilkinson for his work. Frank Wilkinson died on January 2, 2006 at the age of 91.
Aaron Allen Heist was born on January 10, 1885 near Middleton, Michigan. He went to Northwestern University and once he graduated returned to his family who was now living in Oregon. After a while he joined Garret Biblical Institute, Evanston Illinois in 1912 and graduated in 1916. During that time he met Elise Philip whom he later married and had two children with; son Philip Heist and daughter Kathlyn Heist Robinson.
In 1926 he moved to Denver, Colorado where he became pastor of Grace Community Church. During this time he became and advocate of miners' rights to organize and be represented by the I.W.W. during the Colorado coal strike of 1927-1928. He worked to bring parties together and to encourage community understanding and support of the miners' situation.
In 1931 he accepted the position to head the Social Services Department of the Columbia Conserve Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. He then returned to the ministry in California serving in Los Angeles, Florence, and Wilmington Methodist churches. While in Los Angeles he served as Secretary of the Inter-Religious Conference of Industrial Relations, composed of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy. Heist was then assigned to the First Methodist Church Santa Maria in 1941.
In 1946 Heist was assigned director of Southern California American Civil Liberties Union to promote civil disobedience in protest of the segregation of the military. He retired from the ministry in 1950. Then in 1952 he was a founder of CCPAF and became chair in 1953. Revered A.A. Heist died on July 29, 1963.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was an established committee within the House of Representatives that investigated communism, and other propaganda activities. The committee held public and private hearings that questioned and collected testimonies of individuals who they felt were a threat to national patriotism. HUAC aimed some of its work toward German Americans and Klu Klux Klan involvement. Ironically, HUAC failed to investigate the Klan because "after all, the KKK is an old American institution" said committee member John E. Rankin.
Instead of the Klan, HUAC consumed themselves with investigating the American Communist Party. HUAC's heighten involvement was influenced by the Second Red Scare. The Second Red Scare was a result of the Cold War where the U.S. was allied with the Soviet Union and against Axis powers. The Cold War was a state of tension and conflict between the U.S. and other foreign countries. The rivalry resulted in a competitive race of nuclear arms, military coalition, propaganda, espionage, and weapon development. The Second Red Scare (1947 - 1957) amplified the fear of espionage by Communists. With the increase in tension between the Soviets and the U.S. many Americans feared important information would be given to them by Americans who supported Communist ideologies. These fears influenced HUAC's investigations, black listing, deportation, and incarceration of suspected Communists. HUAC investigated many professionals loyalty to the U.S. and role in subversive activities that would mark them as a Communist.
law that required registration of Communist organizations with the Attorney General and established the Subversive Activities Control Board investigate persons suspected of engaging in activites promoting communism or fascism
restricted immigration into the U.S.
HUAC required witnesses to give names or out others who participated in subversive activities or communism
In, 1947, HUAC held nine days of hearings about alleged communist propaganda and influence in the Hollywood motion picture industry. After conviction on contempt of congress, charged for refusal to answer some questions posed by committee members, the "Hollywood Ten" were blacklisted by the industry. Eventually, more than 300 artists-including directors, radio commentators, actors and particularly screenwriters-would be boycotted by the studios due to HUAC.
Frank Wilkinson was fired from his job as a Los Angeles City Housing Authority and later imprisoned for refusing to testify after being subpoenaed by HUAC. After this experience Wilkinson would go on to found the CCPAF.
In 1959 one hundred and ten california teachers were subpoenaed by the HUAC. While these teachers were not charged with any crime, they were instantly tried and convicted by headlines. Theses headlines caused serious damage to their reputations and in many cases cost them their jobs. While it was recognized that free inquiry and free discussion were essential to the preservation of an educational system dedicated to the American ideals of freedom and democracy. HUAC's harassment of these teachers created an atmosphere of fear in which free inquiry and free discussion became impossible.
On December sixth and seventh 30 Los Angeles residents were scheduled to appear in court by HUAC. All of the accused were known as actives, either as individuals or within organizations, seeking the revision of the Walter-McCarran Act, Smith Act and the Internal Security Act or the complete abolition of HUAC itself.
The CCPAF fought against HUAC and supported those who had been victimized through many different methods such as revolutions, writing campaigns, demonstrations, and financial aid.
The tremendous national opposition to HUAC that the CCPAF was able to create was effectively carried to the Floor of the House of Representatives. In 1963 twenty members of Congress voted to cut off all HUAC funds, forty members of Congress voted against HUAC's bill to deny hearings for the accused workers in the National Security Agency, and eighty-four members of Congress supported the Roosevelt-Lindsay-Farbstein Resolution in opposition to HUAC. Thus bringing the CCPAF ever closer to their ultimate goal of abolishing all inquisitorial Committees of government and restoring the First Amendment.
The CCPAF was also instrumental nationally in building and staffing the National Committee to Abolish HUAC, known as the NCAHUAC
Josanta Gray I am freshman at USC. I am currently a Broadcast Journalism major. I am currently on a USC dance team, and in the future I hope to participate in the Annenberg TV news room. Black social movements interested me because I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago where Black History Month consisted of posting the same pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks around school, as if they were the only two African Americans who made history. It interested me because I felt in high school I missed out on learning history and things that affected black people.
Rebecca Springer My name is Rebecca Springer and I am sophomore transfer from the University of San Diego. My major is currently undecided but as of now I am leaning towards Business. Eventually I would love to be an event planner for either large corporate businesses or for individual private events. I'm from a small town in So Cal right in-between Glendale and Pasadena, called La Cañada but currently I am living in an apartment right by SC's campus.
Carly Sturgeon My name is Caroline (Carly) Sturgeon. I am from Lone Tree, Colorado which is about half an hour south of Denver. I was born in Colorado but lived in Atlanta for four years and California for about a year. I am a Sophomore at USC and have not declared a major yet but would like to study either Film Production or Critical Studies. I attended Chapman University in Orange County last year but decided to transfer to USC for various reasons. I have a 24 year-old brother who works in Denver, a 20 year-old brother who attends the University of Michigan and a twin sister who attends Indiana University. I started gymnastics when I was five years old but had to quit at 18 because of injury. My sister and I share two horses and train with them everyday in Colorado. My passion is filmmaking and I try to find inspiration in everything I study and expose myself to.
Josanta Gray I believe CCPAF symbolizes the idea of collective action that we have focused on this semester. CCPAF worked very effectively with other organizations and individuals to organize, protest, and teach people how to address local officials. On the other hand, I feel the organization did not do anything major outside of holding meetings and helping people inform themselves. The organization did not seek to use many forceful measures to abolish HUAC or decrease the level of communist accusations in the U.S. or the infringement of 1st amendment rights.
Rebecca Springer The CCPAF, like most things we learned this year, was a grass roots organization that fought to help any and all victims of HUAC. While I do not believe the CCPAF was specifically responsible for any one particularly notable event. I do however believe that the influence their work and organization had on the fight against HUAC represents the impact that can be made when different people and organizations join forces.
Carly Sturgeon I found this assignemt to be very beneficial not only because it expanded my knowledge of a specific organization but also my knowledge of electronics. I also found that CCPAF was a unique organization that only fought for the abolition of HUAC. One thing that I found most interesting was the fact that in the end of the organization's history, HUAC and CCPAF actually came together, even though they were under different names. However, even though CCPAF only worked for one cause, it was a very important cause because the 1st amendment should be upheld by the United States and every individual within it.
"Committee on Un-American Activities." . Radical Films. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1z5ayu6x0o&feature=related.
Donner, Frank J. "The Congressional Pillory." 18 Feb. 1961.
Fey, Harold E. "Why H.U.A.C Should Go?" .
"He May Be A Communist." . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awez5skxvj8&eurl=&feature=player_embedded.
Lyman, Rick. "Frank Wilkinson, Defiant Figure of Red Scare, Dies at 91." 4 Jan. 2006: Copyright 2006 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0104-05.htm.
Marshall, Dorothy. CCPAF Dear Friends. Los Angeles, CA: CCPAF, 63.
Marshall, Dorothy. Friends - Supporters. Los Angeles, CA: CCPAF, 63
National Committee Against Repressive Legislation." 5 Dec. 08 <https://blackboard.usc.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_id=_2_1&url=%2fwebapps%2fblackboard%2fexecute%2flauncher%3ftype%3dcourse%26id%3d_231
Robertson, Teri. "Reverend Aaron Allan Hesit Papers, 1910-1964." Online Archive of California. Copyright 2006 by The Regents of The University of California http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt7t1nc9zt&doc.view=entire_text&brand=oac.
. Southern California Library. http://www.socallib.org/.
"The Dangerous McCarran Act." 31 May 1962.
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