HUAC Hearing at San Francisco City Hall (1960)

About This Item

KPIX News report from San Francisco City Hall on May 13th 1960 featuring the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearing and the riot which followed. Includes scenes of people shouting: "Open the doors and get out the state!" and singing the Star Spangled Banner at the hearing before being seized by police. Longshoreman Archie Brown yells out: "Here comes the goon squad. This is Americanism. Watch this Americanism in action ... Oh No!" Ends with (silent) views of police turning fire hoses on protestors, dragging people outside and making arrests and cleaners mopping up water from the marble steps. Please note: much of this newsfilm was silent and audio levels were also low on the remaining magnetic soundtrack.

Originally aired on
Date aired
Recording medium
16mm b&w co-magnetic silent/sound film
Rights for this video belong to
Type of material
archival newsfilm
KPIX 102082

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On May 13, 1960

Becky - I accept your point that the phrase "riot" is a negative label when applied to an incident such as this. The reason I used it is less as a categorical definition of what the event was and more as a helpful/conventional search term, which online users typically use when searching for footage which features physical contact between protagonists. In this respect, I'd prefer it that someone was able to locate the footage because they expected to find it referenced under "riot" and then disagree with the definition having watched it. The issue you've raised is pertinent and emphasizes that history isn't a fact that simply happened; it is written. I hope that more people will comment on this topic. In respect of the TV Archive's mission to provide wide public access to such footage, the phrase "riot" will actively help people to locate the footage and make their own mind up. If you want to discuss this with me in more detail, please contact me directly.

Thanks so much for finding and preserving this little bit of tape from KPIX - TV's files!!  It is a shame that more of it wasn't preserved.

I have one objection.  In the text below the segment you call what happened "a riot".  That is what the police and HUAC called it.   The students called it a peaceful demonstration that disintegrated into chaos when the police and the SF Sheriff's department "rioted" - pulled out water hoses, pushed and beat up bystanders and demonstrators, pulled people down the stairs, and piled people into paddy wagons.  I wish you could clarify that. 

Thanks,An Anti-HUAC Demonstrator 

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