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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About the Harvey Richards Media Archive: The Harvey Richards Media Archive contains a treasure of images of the political and social justice upheavals of the 1960s on the west coast and of the devastating impact of capitalist resource exploitation in western forests, and mines among other subjects.  All of his 22 films are available for streaming, downloading and as DVDs. The interest and demand for his images has continued to grow along with the interest in the legacy of the 1960’s political and cultural upsurge. Estuary Press is the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive video and photo image collections.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way by Nina Serrano and Heart Suite, a trilogy of three books of poetry by Nina Serrano. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of the social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, or visit for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577;

All images are copyrighted © Paul Richards 2001-2013.

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