Photograph of Anne Shore, national executive secretary of the Civil Rights Congress, with a greeting card and petition for U.S. Attorney James Carter. The petition, with a drawing of Santa Claus behind prison bars, urges Carter to dismiss charges "against victims of the Grand Jury Witch Hunt in L.A." In 1948, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles was investigating the Communist Party of Los Angeles. People called before the grand jury could name other members of the Communist Party, or they could refuse to testify; if they refused, they were cited for contempt and sent to jail. On Oct. 25, 1948, 10 individuals were subpoened at around 7 a.m., and eight of the 10 were called to testify before the grand jury at 10 a.m. that day. The 10 refused to answer any questions, citing their privilege against self-incrimination. Later that evening, a judge found the 10 people in contempt and ordered them imprisoned until they answered the grand jury's questions. The 10 were released after more than a week in jail but ordered to answer another round of questions. Another 11 people were called before the grand jury and subjected to the same treatment. The Civil Rights Congress and other defenders of civil liberties organized numerous protests to denounce legal proceedings against the "Los Angeles 21."
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