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COMMITTEE ON UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES
WILLIAM M. TUCK, Virginia JOHN M. ASHBROOK, Ohio
FRANCIs J. McNAMARA, Director
The House Committee on Un-American Activities is a standing committee of the House of Representatives, constituted as such by the rules of the House, adopted pursuant to Article I, section 5, of the Constitution of the United States which authorizes the House to determine the rules of its proceedings.
RULES ADOPTED BY THE 90TH CONGRESS
Resolved, That the Rules of the House of Representatives of the Eighty-ninth Congress, together with all applicable provisions of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, as amended, be, and they are hereby, adopted as the Rules of the House of Representatives of the Ninetieth Congress * * *
* * * + * * * RULE X STANDING COMMITTEES
1. There shall be elected by the House, at the commencement of each Congress,
* * * + * * * (r) Committee on Un-American Activities, to consist of nine Members. + 4. * * * * *: RULE XI POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMITTEES * * * + + * +
18. Committee on Un-American Activities.
(a) Un-American activities.
(b) The Committee on Un-American Activities, as a whole or by subcommittee, is authorized to make from time to time investigations of (1) the extent, character, and objects of un-American propaganda activities in the United States, (2) the diffusion within the United States of subversive and un-American propaganda that is instigated from foreign countries or of a domestic origin and attacks the principle of the form of government as guaranteed by our Constitution, and (3) all other questions in relation thereto that would aid Congress in any necessary remedial legislation.
The Committee on Un-American Activities shall report to the House (or to the Clerk of the House if the House is not in session) the results of any such investigation, together with such recommendations as it deems advisable.
For the purpose of any such investigation, the Committee on Un-American Activities, or any subcommittee thereof, is authorized to sit and act at such times and places within the United States, whether or not the House is sitting, has recessed, or has adjourned, to hold such hearings, to require the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such books, papers, and documents, and to take such testimony, as it deems necessary. Subpenas may be issued under the signature of the chairman of the committee or any subcommittee, or by any member designated by any such chairman, and may be served by any person designated by any such chairman or member.
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27. To assist the House in appraising the administration of the laws and in developing such amendments or related legislation as it may deem necessary, each standing committee of the House shall exercise continuous watchfulness of the execution by the administrative agencies concerned of any laws, the subject matter of which is within the jurisdiction of such committee; and, for that purpose, shall study all pertinent reports and data submitted to the House by the agencies in the executive branch of the Government.
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On October 31 and November 1, 1967, a subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met in Room 311, Cannon House Office Building. Congressman Edwin E. Willis, chairman of the full committee, presided over the subcommittee composed of Representatives William M. Tuck, Richard H. Ichord, John M. Ashbrook, Albert W. Watson, and himself. The hearing concerned the Harlem, New York City, riot of July 1964, the role of subversive elements in the riot, their agitational activities preceding the riot, and also those carried out from the time the riot ended to the date of the hearing. The first witness was Detective Adolph W. Hart of the New York City Police Department. Detective Hart had been an undercover agent for the police department in the Chinese Communist-oriented Progressive Labor Movement (PLM), since renamed the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). Detective Hart, a PLM member for several months prior to the Harlem riot of 1964, testified that he had attended classes in Marxism organized by PLM where he was also taught various urban guerrilla warfare tactics and methods of hampering riot-control forces. He became acquainted with William Epton, chairman of the Harlem chapter of the Progressive Labor Movement, through these classes. The witness told the subcommittee that he had become familiar with a printing company, Tri-Line Offset Co. Inc., which produced the official PLM magazine, Progressive Labor, and other “leftist literature,” and was owned by three members of the Progressive Labor Movement. He stated that he wrote articles for Progressive Labor and for the PLM newspaper, Challenge. Mr. Hart identified various members of the Harlem Club of PLM and gave a chronological rundown of PLM meetings and agitational activities—including its formation of the Harlem Defense Council— leading to the 1964 Harlem riot. On the day the riot started, July 18, 1964, he attended a Harlem street-corner meeting held about 2 hours before the breakout of the riot and organized by Progressive Labor. The witness offered the transcript of remarks made at this rally by William Epton who, in a highly inflammatory speech, told the crowd of 300 that “we’re going to have to kill a lot of these cops, a lot of these judges * * *.” On July 19, the day after the riot started, the witness attended a meeting of the PLM-created Harlem Defense Council. At the meeting, which preceded the resumption of the rioting on that day, it was suggested that the group attempt to lure a police officer into a side street where he would be killed as a form of retaliation against the police department. At this same meeting, William McAdoo, a PLM member, told of plans to print a leaflet showing how to make a Molotov cocktail with an empty soda bottle and a rag.
Mr. Hart said that William Epton entered the room during the July 19 meeting and stated “that another riot should be organized on the Lower East Side, which would spread out the police force and keep them from suppressing the riot in the Harlem area.” The witness offered a number of exhibits which related to his testimony concerning PLM and its role in the 1964 Harlem riot. Epton, he noted, had been indicted and convicted of “advocacy of criminal anarchy” and 11 other PLM members were convicted, along with Epton, on similar charges. etective Hart, a Negro, was asked to comment on a claim by William Epton that he spoke for the Negro people. He stated: I can only say that Epton and people like him speak only for a small disillusioned segment of un-American misfits— rabblerousers, who would like to see America fall into the hands of communism. The responsible black man today wants a change, but he has enough faith in this country to change it through the ballot, which he is doing every day. He has proven and continues to prove his loyalty to this country—and in no uncertain terms—by this outstanding record in Vietnam. He realizes that it is no longer impossible to become a black sheriff, a black mayor, a black Supreme Court Justice, and that it is quite possible he can even be elected President in the not too distant future. The witness testified that he believed the July 18, 1964, Progressive Labor Movement-sponsored meeting was the “triggering device or the catalyst” which sparked the 1964 Harlem riot.
TESTIMONY OF PHILLLP. A. LUCE AND JUDITH WARDEN
On October 24, 1967, the members of the House Committee on Un-American Activities had voted to make public certain portions of executive testimony of Mr. Phillip Abbott Luce and Miss Judith Warden received on June 8 and 9, 1965. Mr. Luce and Miss Warden had both been members of the Progressive Labor Party. Mr. Luce had been a member from approximately July 1964 until January 1965. Miss Warden, who had been an editor of Challenge, official newspaper of PLP, joined a few months previous to Mr. Luce and also left the organization in January 1965.
The committee staff director read those portions of the Luce/Warden testimony which were relevant to the topic of the hearings, namely, the involvement of the Progressive Labor Party (formerly Progressive Labor Movement) in the 1964 Harlem riot.
The earlier testimony of Mr. Luce and Miss Warden corroborated the testimony of Detective Hart in pinpointing PLM as the primary catalyst in helping to initiate and prolong the 1964 Harlem riot.
TESTIMONY OF HERBERT ROMERSTEIN
In the afternoon session of the hearings of October 31, 1967, Herbert Romerstein, an investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities, stated that he had conducted a background investigation into the events leading up to the Harlem riot.
He noted that racial and antipolice agitation had taken place for many years in New York. This agitation, Mr. Romerstein observed. WaS—
developed by the various organizations within the Communist periphery—the Communist Party itself, as well as other organizations affiliated with the Com