In 1933, William Dudley Pelley founded the Silver Legion, an American-made fascist organization to match the movements seizing power in Europe. Seven years later, the new House Un-American Activities Committee called him to Washington to explain his actions.
Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier, was pressured into testifying before the infamous communist-hunting committee in July 1949. But he also used the opportunity to speak out about racial injustice.
Pete Seeger was a performer whose art was intertwined in close harmony with a slew of social causes, ranging from civil rights and the organized labor movement to environmentalism. As he once wrote, "Music, as any art, is not an end in itself, but is a means for achieving larger ends." While Seeger lived most of his life in upstate New York, Seeger's twin passions for music and activism often brought him to Washington, where his calm eloquence and forthrightness gave him influence in the White House — and also subjected him to peril.