Scope and Content
Title: Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms Records,
Date (inclusive): 1947-1971
Collection number: MSS 005
Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms
Extent: 5 document cases
1 2/3 cubic feet
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research.
The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles.
The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged
to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for
Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any
portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be
allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's
director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from
a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies
and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the
physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Identification of item], Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms Records, MSS 005, Southern California Library for
Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles.
In 1952, the Citizens Committee to Preserve American Freedoms (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, CCPAF held rallies, placed
newspaper ads, distributed pamphlets, initiated letter writing campaigns and put on fundraising events.
Frank Wilkinson, who helped found CCPAF after losing his job with the City of Los Angeles Housing authority because he refused
to take a loyalty oath, served as CCPAF secretary. Chair of the organization was Dorothy Marshall and subsequently Reverend
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 subpoened by HUAC in 1958 to appear before the HUAC hearings in Atlanta,
Georgia; Wilkinson was ultimately 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 the hearings, opposed
its activities and questioned the legality of its existence, while not necessarily focusing on its abolition.
In November 1956, 66 subpoenas were served on the West Coast with 31 going to Los Angeles. Most of these were served to the
Los Angeles Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born. Others went to the secretaries of the National Lawyers Guild,
the Jewish Information Service and the CCPAF, as well as to the former secretaries of the Civil Rights Congress and the Negro
Labor Council. Reverend Stephen Fritchman of the First Unitarian Church was also subpoenaed. The hearings were scheduled for
December 6 and 7, 1956. CCPAF intervened 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 Californians to Abolish HUAC with
officers Dorothy Marshall (chair), Bernice Belton (executive secretary) and Betty Rottger (treasurer). Frank Wilkinson, who
had been secretary of the CCPAF continued in his position as Field Representative/Executive Director of NCAHUAC, a post he
had held since 1960.
When, in 1969, HUAC's name was changed to House Committee on Internal Security (HISC), NCAHUAC became NACHUAC/HISC. In 1970,
the name was changed to National Committe Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL) as the organization recognized the need to
broaden its work beyond the abolition of HUAC/HISC. The Congressional committee had not held a major hearing since 1965. Frank
Wilkinson, based in Los Angeles, continued to be its Field Representative/Executive Director, working with affiliates in San
Francisco, Mountain View, California, Seattle, Washington, DC., Cambridge, Memphis, Louisville and Chicago.
HUAC/HISC was abolished in 1975. NCARL has continued its work against legislative violations of the Constitution. 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.
Scope and Content
The collection is arranged into series: GENERAL FILE, CCPAF AND AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS, CCPAF FINANCES and NCAHUAC AND AFFILIATE
The GENERAL FILE (folders 1-7) contains material from other organizations who opposed HUAC or worked on other civil liberties
issues. It also contains articles in pamphlet or flyer form. For example the Harvard Law Review on the
Report of the House Committe on Un-American Activities, October 1947;
The Nation Tooling Up for Mass Repression: The Subversive Activities Control Board by Laurent B. Frantz, December 12, 1955; a speech
by Representative James Roosevelt (1960); and a reprint from
The Christian Century Why The HUAC Should Go, by Harold E. Fey.
There are resolutions and statements adopted by the California Democratic Council, the San Francisco Labor Council, the California
Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and the Youth Committee for Civil Liberties protesting the tactics of HUAC; the Youth Committee
for Civil Liberties called for HUAC's abolition.
There is a list of names and addresses, mainly Massachusetts residents, who petitioned the House of Representatives to abolish
HUAC, in addition to a mimeographed brochure on opponents of McCarthyism, which includes a bibliography. Also included is
a copy of Excerpts from Transcript of Hearings, House Committee on Un-American Activities, for Thursday, December 6, 1956
(page two is missing), and a copy of a subpoena to appear before HUAC issued in brochure form by the ACLU Pasadena chapter
protesting HUAC's subpoena of 70 teachers in the Los Angeles Area.
The Emergency Civil Liberties Committee file (folder 4) contains reprints of articles regarding HUAC and a couple of pamphlets
calling for the abolition of HUAC.
There are other flyers, leaflets, articles, petitions and announcements from other organizations who were concerned about
HUAC and the absence of civil liberties; not all groups are named. The Defenders of Three Against HUAC (Russ Nixon, Dagmar
Wilson and Donna Allen) folder (#7) contains an appeal letter, a flyer and an article on Three Against HUAC in
Four Lights, March 1965 published by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
The list of subversive organizations in this collection is from the Attorney General, but issued by the Better Business Bureau
of Long Beach.
The CCPAF AND AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS file (folders 8-11) contains flyers, leaflets, appeal letters for funds and letters
giving information on HUAC and its abuses in addition to announcing progress made against HUAC by the CCPAF. There are statements
opposing HUAC, instruction letters and a brochure on Facts and Opinons on the Brownell-Butler Letter (1954).
There is some correspondence. There is a letter that was sent to other committees in the form of a contract to sponsor CCPAF
activities and a copy of a letter from Stephen Young, U.S. Senator from Ohio to Neil E. Wetterman criticizing Wetterman's
superpatriotism and censure of free speech.
Included in the file are reports on hearings, speeches, grants, a copy of the testimony by Frank Wilkinson in US of A vs.
Frank Wilkinson January 23, 1959, and pamphlets
Behind The Bars for The First Amendment.... March 1960 and
A Collection of Editorials and Resolutions in Opposition to The Un-American Activities Committee January 1962.
The Teachers Defense Committee (folder 11) was formed in Los Angeles and San Francisco in support of the 110 teachers who
were served with subpoenas in June 1959. The hearings were ultimately cancelled. The folder contains flyers and mimeographed
copies of statements surrounding the issues of the 110 teachers. The Teachers Defense Committee may not have been an affiliate
CCPAF FINANCES (folders 12-30) contain the receipts, tax forms, financial reports and bank statements of the CCPAF. Most of
the receipts cover the day to day operating expenses of CCPAF, such as receipts for office supplies, postage, printing costs
and expense accounts submitted by Frank Wilkinson. The tax forms deal with the payroll; Dorothy Marshall and Frank Wilkinson
were paid staff members. The payroll records go up to 1957. The correspondence file in the CCPAF FINANCES series relates to
the IRS investigation on the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU). The IRS was corresponding with
CCPAF and the ILWU regarding the ILWU purchase of some CCPAF pamphlets.
The NCAHUAC AND AFFILIATE ORGANIZATIONS series (folders 32-41) contains some issues of
Abolition News, the newsletter of NCAHUAC, later NCARL. The series also contains petitions, flyers, pamphlets, bulletins, press releases,
reprints of articles on why HUAC must be abolished and who supports its abolition, and progress reports on the activities
of NCAHUAC. There are appeal letters for funds, a letter from Frank Wilkinson to Leslie [?] regarding a program honoring Donna
Allen and flyers and leaflets from the Bay Area Student Committee, the Northern Californians to Abolish HUAC and the Southern
Californians to Abolish HUAC. The file (folder 41) that contains material from NCARL consists of bulletins, flyers and leaflets.