Don’t Call Me Red

album cover "Chavez Ravine"Ry Cooder produced an album about Chavez Ravine. One of the tracks on the album was about Frank, and features auto-tuned vocals from a talk Frank gave. It’s awesome! Have a listen:

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Don’t Call Me Red

Listen to Ry Cooder’s song about Frank, which includes vocals from Frank himself!  (It’s a little tricky, go to this page, and choose “play on spotify”)

The song talks about Frank’s community organizing work in Chavez Ravine in 1952. He wanted to tear down the sub-standard housing and build public housing on the site. But real estate developers had another plan: to tear down the neighborhood and build a ball park (now Dodger Stadium). At the hearing to decide whether to build public housing, Frank represented the Los Angeles Housing Authority. The lawyer for the landlords had been given an FBI dossier on Frank… so he asked Frank to name all the groups he had ever belonged to. Well, Frank refused. It was front page news…. and the rest is history, for Chavez Ravine and for Frank.

Here are the lyrics, but those of you who knew Frank will love to hear his voice in the recording

Don’t call me red, don’t turn me down, I’ve got a plan. 
Richard Neutra is my friend, and he’s the man. 
He’s been to school and he can see what’s best for all of you. 
Please trust me, my name is Frank, don’t turn me down. 
Don’t call me red. 

Every church has its prophets and its elders. 
God will love you if you just play ball, that’s right. 
Fritz Burns, Chief Parker, and J Edgar. 
I outlived those bastards after all. 

We survived those dark days full of danger. 
In the end fate has been good to me. 
If you’re in the neighbourhood, stranger, 
You’re welcome to drop in and see. 
My name is Frank, don’t turn me down. 

Don’t call me red.


Frank’s work is carried on by the organization he helped found in 1960, now known as the Defending Dissent Foundation.

Please consider making a donation in Frank’s memory today.


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