My name is Darla and I’ve been an intern at the Freedom Archives since January. One of my projects has been to process a small collection of audio and paper materials focused on the Peace and Freedom Party. The material revolves around the Party during 1967 and 1968, with the majority of the items coming from the Peace and Freedom Party Founding Convention, held in March of 1968.
The Peace and Freedom Party began in 1967, emerging from the Civil Rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. People were looking for an alternative to the Democratic Party, that in their opinion was doing little to end the war in Vietnam and that also was failing to address the issues of racial injustice in the United States. They formed a radical left-wing third party from the Peace and Freedom Movement, and attempted to seek change through electoral politics. After a significant voter registration drive in 1967, they were placed on the 1968 California ballot, with over 100,000 party members, and held the Peace and Freedom Party Founding Convention from March 16 – 18, 1968, in Richmond, CA.
Our collection contains audio recordings captured by Colin Edwards, ranging from discussion on the Peace and Freedom Party candidates to discourse about the Party being bicameral. Digital copies of the Peace & Freedom News, and also the convention agenda can be found online. Check out our finding aid here.
Some of the interesting items for me personally were documents relating to the Peace and Freedom Party’s coalition with the Black Panther Party. They supported the unconditional release “by any means necessary” of Huey P. Newton and also supported his candidacy in a 7th Congressional District election. Although only found as a side note in the convention documents, it is also interesting to note that Eldridge Cleaver became their Presidential candidate for the 1968 ballot.