1911 - 1950

Labor: 1918

Free Tom Mooney leafletFree Tom Mooney leafletGovernor William Stephens commutes Tom Mooney’s sentence from death to life imprisonment. Over the following two decades, activists worldwide call for the pardon of Mooney and Billings. Key witnesses recant their testimony and admit that District Attorney Charles Fickert framed the two labor leaders. Nine of the ten living jurors petition Governor Clement Young to pardon Mooney and Billings. Even the judge who sentenced Mooney appeals to the governor saying that Mooney is innocent.

Women: 1919

Women telephone operators strike for the right to bargain collectively.

Race: 1919

State supreme court upholds the legality of a restrictive covenant preventing an African American from living in a Los Angeles home.

Dissent, Labor: 1919

California legislature passes the Criminal Syndicalism Act, outlawing advocacy of force or violence for political change or a change of industrial ownership. Because the law is broad and vague, it is used against non-violent labor organizers and political radicals.

Dissent: 1920

Socially prominent reformer Charlotte Anita Whitney is convicted of violating the Criminal Syndicalism Act because she is a member of the Communist Labor Party.

Immigrants' Rights: 1920

Voters pass an “alien land” initiative outlawing Japanese immigrants from leasing land, buying land in the names of their U.S.-born citizen children, or acting as guardians of their children’s property.

Race: 1921

Legislature passes a law requiring Indian children to attend segregated federal Indian schools if one exists within three miles of their homes. 

Race: 1922

Congress passes the Cable Act, which strips a woman of her American citizenship if she marries an Asian immigrant (who were at the time not allowed to naturalize). The Act is repealed in 1936.

Immigrants' Rights: 1922

California Supreme Court strikes the component of the “alien land law” that prohibits Japanese immigrants from serving as guardians of property in their children’s names.

Dissent, Labor: 1923

SinclairSinclairDuring the course of a strike by longshoremen at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, police and hired goons attack strikers and their supporters who are protesting bad working conditions, low wages, and the imprisonment of union leaders under the Criminal Syndicalism Act. Police prohibit strikers from holding public meetings. At a rally on Liberty Hill in support of the strikers, author Upton Sinclair is arrested for violating the Criminal Syndicalism Act by reading the U.S. Constitution. Sinclair helps found the ACLU of Southern California.

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