Dissent

Dissent: 1949

Dalton Trumbo (right)Dalton Trumbo (right)Hollywood Ten convicted of contempt of Congress and serve time in prison.

Dissent: 1949

Regents of the University of California require all faculty to sign a loyalty oath, causing some professor to protest that the oath violates academic freedom. The controversy lasts for over a year until the state supreme court invalidates the oath on narrow grounds.

See part of an oral history interview with professor Howard Schachman on the loyalty oath:

Dissent: 1950

Legislature passes the Levering Act, named after Santa Monica Assembly Member Harold Levering, which requires all state employees to swear they do not advocate the violent overthrow of the government, and to list organizations so advocating to which they have belonged during the previous five years. State employees must also promise not to join such groups. San Francisco State University (SFSU) becomes a hub of opposition to the oath. Eventually, nine SFSU professors are fired for not signing the oath.

Dissent: 1952

Frank WilkinsonFrank WilkinsonLos Angeles Housing Authority administrator Frank Wilkinson refuses to testify about his political beliefs before the California Senate’s Committee on Un-American Activities. The Housing Authority fires him.

Legislature approves the Luckel Act, named for San Diego Assembly Member Frank Luckel, requiring all state employees to respond to government entities investigating their political beliefs.

By a two-to-one margin, California voters pass Proposition 5, which permits the legislature to subject state employees to loyalty check programs, and Proposition 6, which enshrines the Levering Act loyalty oath requirement into the state constitution.

California Supreme Court upholds the Levering Act in Pockman v. Leonard.

Dissent: 1953

Governor Earl Warren signs into law a bill requiring loyalty oaths for all persons or organizations claiming exemptions from property taxes.

Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron loses a brutal re-election campaign after Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker publicly declares Frank Wilkinson a subversive whom Bowron supported.

Legislature passes the Dilworth Act, named for State Senator Nelson Dilworth, requiring public school employees to take a loyalty oath and denying them any ground for refusing to answer questions from school boards or legislative committees concerning their membership in the Communist Party or other political organizations.

Dissent: 1956

Frank Wilkinson refuses to testify before HUAC in Los Angeles. HUAC votes to recommend that the House cite him in contempt, but the larger body does not do so.

Dissent: 1958

Frank Wilkinson refuses to testify before HUAC after being subpoenaed to an Atlanta hearing. The House of Representatives cites him in contempt of Congress. In 1961, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds his conviction, and he is sent to federal prison.

U.S. Supreme Court, in Speiser v. Randall and the companion case First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. County of Los Angeles, reverses the California Supreme Court and invalidates California’s mandatory oaths for veterans and churches to qualify for property tax exemptions.

Dissent: 1959

San Franciscans for Academic Freedom and Education (SAFE) forms to support teachers subpoenaed by HUAC. Opposition to HUAC grows in the Bay Area, and for the first time HUAC cancels a hearing.

Dissent: 1960

HUAC ProtestHUAC ProtestHUAC conducts hearings in San Francisco’s City Hall, drawing hundreds of protestors, mainly college students. Without warning, police turn fire hoses on the protestors and push them down the staircase in the building’s rotunda. The following day, 5,000 people gather in front of City Hall to protest against HUAC. 

Frank Wilkinson and Dick Criley found theNational Committee to Abolish HUAC.

Dissent: 1964

Free SpeechFree SpeechFor more than three months, students at the University of California, Berkeley participate in the “Free Speech Movement” to protest restrictions on political speech and activities on campus.

See "Free Speech Movement" leader Mario Savio deliver part of a speech: 

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