Press Conference with Civil Liberties Activist Frank Wilkinson, Ex. Dir. NCARL
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Frank Wilkinson (August 16, 1914 – January 2, 2006) was a civil liberties activist, Executive Director of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation and Executive Director of the First Amendment Foundation.
A lifelong progressive political activist, Wilkinson was caught up in the McCarthy Era when he defended a major public housing project, Elysian Park Heights, for the Chávez Ravine section of Los Angeles. Instead, Dodger Stadium eventually occupied the site. Wilkinson, in 1952, was the assistant director of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. Critics of the plan claimed that public housing was part of a socialist plot. Wilkinson, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, cited the First Amendment as his reason for not answering: the Committee had no right to ask. Cited for contempt of Congress, Wilkinson, was fired from his job in connection with his unwillingness to affirm or deny his political party membership.
After his release, Wilkinson became a leading opponent of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in 1960 helped form the National Committee to Abolish HUAC, which evolved into the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation. Because of his resistance to political repression, Wilkinson received the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty; and the American Civil Liberties Union Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, the Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award, and the 1997 National Lawyers’ Guild Legal Worker of the Year.