Scope and Content
Title: Frontlash San Francisco Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1965-1973
Accession number: 1988/089
Extent: .5 cubic feet
San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
San Francisco, California 94132
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing
to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Frontlash San Francisco Collection, 1988/089, Labor Archives & Research Center,
San Francisco State University.
These records were donated by Mary Quinn of the San Francisco Labor Council in 1988. The
collection was processed in 1989 by Gordon Webb; this guide was written in spring 1999 by
Frontlash, a nationwide nonprofit student organization, was founded in 1968 to register young
voters, especially those in minority and low-income communities, and to "educate citizens on the
issues at stake and the need for voting power to change social conditions."
It was sponsored by
the National AFL-CIO, the United States Youth Council, the NAACP Youth Council, and a
variety of other foundations and trade unions. Frontlash's 1968 registration campaign, conducted
by about one thousand student volunteers across the country, signed up approximately 25,000
new voters nationwide, including 1,000 in Sacramento and 10,000 in Los Angeles.
Student activists in San Francisco formed a local chapter of Frontlash in time for its 1970
campaign, called "Frontlash '70." Begun on the San Francisco State College campus, Frontlash
San Francisco--headed by Michael C. Grimes--operated out of an office provided by the San
Francisco Council on Political Education (COPE) and was funded in large part by the San
Francisco Labor Council.
During Frontlash '70, the San Francisco chapter's two hundred
volunteers registered about 7,000 new voters in the 20th Assembly District (South of Market).
Also in 1970, national Frontlash's western organizer, David Jessup, moved his headquarters to
San Francisco in an office provided by the California state AFL-CIO.
Frontlash San Francisco
frequently worked on voter registration and education drives with the AFL-CIO's political
In 1971, Frontlash San Francisco registered another 21,000 new voters. After the passage of the
Voters Rights Act of 1971, which lowered the federal voting age to eighteen, Frontlash San
Francisco participated in a coordinated drive with San Francisco Federation of Teachers Local 61
and the City Wide Youth Council aimed at registering high school and City College students.
"With the passage of the eighteen-year-old vote, 11.5 million new voters were made eligible to
vote," noted Grimes.
Although Frontlash was nominally a non-partisan organization, 80 percent
of the students it registered signed up as Democrats.
During the summer of 1971, Frontlash San
Francisco volunteers worked voter registration booths at busy street corners, shopping centers,
and unemployment offices in low-income neighborhoods, and held a twenty-four-hour registration
marathon at the Sports Center Bowl on Mission Street aimed at registering night workers.
Frontlash San Francisco registered another 48,000 new voters in time for the presidential election
of November 1972. Most of the newly registered voters were working-class youths who,
according to David Jessup, "often are bypassed by the more highly publicized drives on
About three-fourths registered as Democrats.
What happened to Frontlash San Francisco after the November 1972 election is unknown. The
collection ends abruptly in 1972. The number of Frontlash chapters across the country declined
throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s; as of 1995, only a few remained, with a combined
membership of about fifty students.
Frontlash did resurface in August 1996 to picket Niketowns
in half a dozen cities because of the corporation's exploitative labor practices.
1"Frontlash '68, A Report and Evaluation," p.1, LARC, San Francisco Frontlash collection, folder 1/11.
3"Frontlash '70--California," p. 3, folder 1/11.
4"Frontlash--70 Project News," p. 1, folder 1/11.
California State AFL-CIO News, 10 July 1970.
San Francisco Chronicle, 3 June 1971, p. 9.
8Mike Grimes to George Johns, 21 September 1971, folder 1/11;
North Bay Labor Journal, 22 May 1972, p. 5-D.
San Francisco Labor, 10 November 1972, p. 4.
Labor Activist, v. 3 no. 2 (1995).
Nonviolent Activist: The Magazine of the War Resisters League, Sept.-Oct. 1996.
Scope and Content
The folders in the Frontlash San Francisco collection are arranged alphabetically, and the material
within each folder is arranged chronologically.
Included within the collection is correspondence, fund-raising material, and print material (such as
newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and posters). Folders are also devoted to specific topics, groups,
and projects associated with Frontlash San Francisco, including Israel/Zionism, the Young
People's Socialist League, the Public Housing Authority Project, and the Young Trade Unionist
Material Cataloged Separately
- Spanish-language voter registration poster with photo of young girl, Political Research Education
Project, San Francisco, ca. 1970; relocated to LARC oversize poster collection.
- Six voter registration posters; relocated to LARC poster collection.
- 45 RPM record: "Vote" radio spots, Warner Bros. Records, by Mason Proffit, ca. 1972; relocated
to LARC LP collection.
- Various Frontlash posters in LARC poster collection.