Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights History The Unviersity of Washington

The 1948 Canwell UnAmerican Activities Hearings: Photos and documents

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. on July 19, 1948, Albert F. Canwell, state representative from Spokane and chair of the Joint Legislative Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities, called the session to order: “Before we proceed, I wish to state that we will proceed with proper dignity here; no demonstrations will be tolerated, no speeches from the audience; any violation of that...will be summarily dealt with.” So began five days of hearings on the issue of Communist activities at the University of Washington. The Canwell hearings would have wide and lasting consequences. Six tenured faculty members would face sanctions from the University and three would lose their jobs. Other legislatures and other universities followed the Washington example and began to look for radicals in the halls of academe. The Cold War Red Scare gained momentum.

Museum of History and Industry Collection

  • All Powers Necessary and Convenient: Here is the story of the remarkable play that touched lives and reawakened history. Read the preface and see photos and other materials from the performance and associated events.

  • Survivor Stories: An important discussion followed the February 15, 1998 performance of All Powers. Mark Jenkins spoke briefly and then the audience talked, including many who took part in the events of 1948. Filmmakers Richard Bartlett and Patti Rosendhal made a short video which we present here.