Photograph of a Los Angeles County sheriff opening a cell to release Ben Dobbs from jail. Dobbs and nine other people received subpoenas at around 7 a.m. on Oct. 25, 1948, ordering them to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the Communist Party of Los Angeles. 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 sentenced them to jail for an unlimited term without bail. The 10 were released after more than a week in jail, but were 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 protest rallies and waged a legal battle to release the Los Angeles 21 on bail.
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