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Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection

at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Selected Images

Photograph of demonstraters at a peace march against the Vietnam War, Los Angeles, CA.

This photograph depicts an anti-Vietnam War demonstration that took place in Los Angeles, California in 1968. The Los Angeles Free Press was staunchly against the Vietnam War and often supported and covered demonstrations in the Los Angeles area.

Front cover of the second issue of the Los Angeles Free Press

This is the front cover of the second issue of the Los Angeles Free Press. Art Kunkin addresses the need for a liberal Los Angeles newspaper while the headline story covers the CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) picket of Bank of America over discrimination practices.

Photograph of Chicano demonstrators against police brutality.

This photograph depicts a Chicano demonstration against police brutality in the East Los Angeles area. The Los Angeles Free Press often supported and covered the Chicano Movement extensively during the 1960s and 1970s.

Front cover of a Los Angeles Free Press issue covering the Watts Rebellion of 1965.

This issue of the Los Angeles Free Press covered the Watts Rebellion of 1965 and the frustrations of the black community that led up to the rebellion, contrasting the Los Angeles Times condemnation of the rebellion. The paper's coverage of the event lead to a paper's rise in popularity. [Note: The article contains outdated language based on its time.]

Photograph of Art Kunkin being arrested at a music festival in Echo Park.

This photograph was taken at a Los Angeles Free Press-sponsored music festival held at Echo Park. Due to permit issues, the Los Angeles Police Department arrived to disperse the gathering. Art Kunkin is seen being arrested by the police while onstage after calming the crowd.

Front cover of Los Angeles Free Press with headline: Narcotic Agents Listed, There should be no secret police

This front cover is from the issue of the Los Angeles Free Press in which the paper released the name of 88 narcotic agents. Kunkin and the staff challenged the aggressive war on drugs and what was seen as unlawful arrests. This article led to two lawsuits which financially hindered the paper.

Collection Description

The Los Angeles Free Press, often called the "Freep" by its readers, was founded in 1964 by Arthur Glick "Art" Kunkin. Prior, Kunkin was an active labor organizer and resident editor of the Johnson-Forest Tendency until 1958 and briefly served as chairman of the Los Angeles Local Branch of the Socialist Party in 1959.

Plans for the Los Angeles Free Press began in 1964 with a goal of catering to "liberal-intellectuals" in the Los Angeles area and with a focus on city issues and politics. In May 1964, Art Kunkin sold the first issue of the newspaper at the KPFK Renaissance Pleasure Faire. After a successful trial run, Kunkin secured the funds to publish the Los Angeles Free Press weekly for almost a decade, going from an 8-page tabloid to a 55-page weekly newspaper in six years. The Los Angeles Free Press was an influential periodical of its day as one of the first members of the Underground Press Syndicate, an alternative media equivalent to the associated press. Kunkin and the Freep have been recognized as helping hundreds of other national and international underground periodicals and covering topics including police brutality, women's liberation, the Chicano movement, gay liberation, and mystic and esoteric areas.

The Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press Collection documents the life of Art Kunkin from his time as a socialist organizer to his role as publisher and editor of the Los Angeles Free Press and to his later life as a new age practitioner. The surviving Los Angeles Free Press administrative and business records document 1960s journalism, the counterculture, anti-war activism, civil rights, revolutionary politics, and the expression of personal freedom.

The Arthur Kunkin / Los Angeles Free Press collection was acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections in 2021. Prior to the archive's acquisition, the collection was in a storage shed in Joshua Tree, packed so tightly and just secure enough to be saved from complete deterioration.

The collection is still being processed and will be made accessible in Spring 2024.

Selected Books

The following are a selection of books that discuss the Los Angeles Free Press and underground press. To search for more books in the library and for helpful tips on how to navigate our database, follow our OneSearch guide.

Related Resources

External Related Resources

Below are relevant and helpful resources from other institutions.