1911 - 1950

Labor: 1938

Mooney PardonMooney PardonGovernor Culbert Olsen pardons Tom Mooney.

Court of Appeals upholds the right to picket as an expression of free speech, thereby invalidating anti-picketing ordinances throughout the state. Agribusinesses convince voters to pass a statewide anti-picketing ordinance.

World War II Incarceration: 1939

President Franklin Roosevelt authorizes the FBI to compile a “Custodial Detention” list comprised of “potentially dangerous” individuals to be detained or placed under surveillance in the event of war.

Labor: 1939

Harry BridgesHarry BridgesFirst of three unsuccessful efforts to deport longshoreman and 1934 strike leader Harry Bridges.

Governor Culbert Olsen pardons Warren Billings.

Madera County officials jail 145 cotton strikers for violating the county’s anti-picketing ordinance. Madera city parks are closed to all public meetings. A federal judge declares Madera’s anti-picketing ordinance unconstitutional.

Censorship: 1939

Cover art for the first edition of The Grapes of WrathCover art for the first edition of The Grapes of WrathJohn Steinbeck’s best-selling novel The Grapes of Wrath is censored by officials in Kern County – the very region that he wrote about. Only after a fight led by civil libertarians, trade unionists, clergy and the local librarian was the book restored to the library shelves. 

Labor: 1940

U.S. Supreme Court invalidates California’s anti-picketing laws.

Religion: 1940

U.S. Supreme Court rules that school boards can compel all students – including Jehovah’s Witnesses – to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Censorship: 1941

Refregier muralRefregier muralArtist Anton Refregier is selected to paint murals depicting California history on the walls of Rincon Annex post office; the work is interrupted by World War II, and resumed in 1948.

Labor: 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802 outlawing racial discrimination in defense industry employment. The order expires at the end of the war.

World War II Incarceration: Nov. 1941

Secret “Munson Report” circulated among federal officials, including President Roosevelt. The report states that Japanese Americans are loyal to the U.S. and do not pose a security threat.

World War II Incarceration: Dec. 7, 1941

Home SearchHome SearchJapan attacks Pearl Harbor.

President Roosevelt signs an emergency proclamation authorizing the Justice Department to arrest Japanese, German, and Italian aliens. That same day, FBI agents begin arresting men and sending them to Department of Justice camps for indefinite detention.

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