The records of HRP consist mainly of campaign activities, campaign issues, platforms, and clippings. The record group is divided into six series: Radical Independent Party, 1970-1971, Human Rights Party Organization, 1972-1975, HRP Campaigns, Socialist Human Rights Party, 1975-1977, Human Rights Party of Michigan, 1971-1976, and the People's Party, 1972-1979. In this collection, focal political issues are filed under the Steering Committee, if not separately foldered. Clippings are a major source of information and researchers should consult them for details.
During the winter of 1970, a series of open conventions were held in Ann Arbor resulting in the formation of Radical Independent Party (RIP) by local activists. In April 1971, RIP ran a write-in campaign with Doug Cornell and Jerry DeGrieck, as candidates for Mayor and Second Ward Councilman. In June, RIP member, Bob Hefner, ran in the non-partisan School Board election, gathering 11% of the city-wide vote. Needing stronger recognition, RIP decided to affiliate with the Human Rights Party of Michigan, a statewide third party formed by dissident radical Democrats. Legislation had just been passed allowing eighteen-year olds to vote and permitting college students to vote where they attend school. The Human Rights Party of Ann Arbor was formed with the intent to influence local politics. HRP made all decisions at open meetings. Day-to-day functions were coordinated by a Steering Committee whose decisions were reviewed by the membership at open meetings.
HRP first appeared on a ballot in Ann Arbor in April, 1972, in a City Council election in which Jerry DeGrieck and Nancy Wechsler won two of the five contested seats Because of the Council make-up, neither Republicans nor Democrats could successfully function without HRP support. Through cooperation with Democratic council members, the HRP radical legislative agenda was passed including a $5 pot law, a ban on non-returnable bottles, a shift of $600,000 of revenue-sharing funds to child and health care, and a strong human rights ordinance against sexual discrimination. HRP supported local strikes: Buhr Tool, Commission on Professional Hospital Activities (CPHA), and Mackinac Jack's.
In the 1973 City Council election, the Republicans gained a 7-2-2 majority, enabling the Council to repeal most of the HRP program. Benita Kaimowitz was unsuccessful with her bid for mayor. Frank Shoichet and Andrei Joseph lost in the 2nd and 3rd wards respectively. The Rainbow People's Party left the HRP after a disagreement over David Sinclair's candidacy, further weakening it
In 1974, Kathy Kozachenko won the 2nd ward council seat, while Beth Brunton lost the 1st ward. All three HRP City Council officials were openly gay, another revolutionary issue at the time. The $5 marijuana fine was reinstated. The focal issue of rent control was defeated by the voters. HRP successfully placed preferential voting for Mayor on the November ballot. For the first time HRP of Michigan ran a full slate of candidates, with Zoltan Ferency leading the ticket with his bid for Governor.
By 1975, HRP in Ann Arbor was in the decline. HRP renamed itself as the Socialist Human Rights Party but met no success thereafter. In 1977 the remnants of HRP organizers identified with the People's Party and Socialist Party of Michigan.