Breaking the Silence of the 1950’s

Peace Movement Early Years

Harvey Richards began his photography starting in the late 1950’s, when the silence of the 1950’s McCarthy era was broken by peace demonstrations against nuclear testing and proliferation.

1958, San Francisco, CA. No War with China. Photo by Harvey Richards

1958, San Francisco, CA. No War with China. Photo by Harvey Richards

Local and national press refused to cover these events, motivating Harvey to help publicize and promote the rising voices of dissent. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) of the U.S. Congress conducted witch hunts against progressive peace activists, communists and other dissenters, attempting to shut down these voices. Harvey Richards was subpeonaed and forced to appear before HUAC in 1957 where he refused to testify. By the late 1950’s, HUAC itself became a target of demonstrators demanding that HUAC be abolished. Harvey covered these early demonstrations, although he missed the most famous one in which anti-HUAC demonstrators were washed down the steps of the San Francisco City Hall with fire hoses turned on by hysterical local police. HUAC never showed its face again in the Bay Area.  As the 1960’s opened, the peace movement continued to grow in response to world crises in Cuba and Vietnam and elsewhere. San Francisco peace demonstrations led the country in finding its voice to protest war policies of the US government and break the silence of the 1950’s.  Harvey Richards photographs provide a view of this legacy of peace which now today, in 2013, is more relevant than ever.

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All images are copyrighted © Paul Richards 2001-2013.

Peace and the HUAC Anti-Communist Crusade

Hiroshima Day March, HUAC Protests, Vietnam War Escalation After HUAC’s debacle in San Francisco when its 1960 hearings ended with fire hoses washing demonstrators down the steps of city hall, HUAC moved its witch hunt to Los Angeles where the anti-communists crusaders … Continue reading

Nuclear Disarmament and Cuban Crisis

Moving Away from the Brink of Nuclear War   As the world witnessed rising levels of nuclear fallout from the testing of atom bombs during the Cold War era, public demonstrations for nuclear disarmament grew during the late 1950’s. It … Continue reading