“A Great Human Act Done by Sincere Men”

Shawn Francis Peters

in The Catonsville Nine

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950140 | DOI:
“A Great Human Act Done by Sincere Men”

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The Interfaith Peace Mission (IPM) continued to agitate in the wake of the Baltimore Four demonstration. Early in 1968 it sent out a fund-raising letter proclaiming, “Now is the time for us to change our military policies as a nation whose government is by, for, and of the people.” But the group faced some formidable challenges as it attempted to affect this change. One was fiscal. As the New Year dawned, its coffers contained a mere $78. Aside from its financial straits, the IPM and its members had to contend with a variety of forms of harassment. Vandals hurled rocks through the windows of both the Peace Action Center, where the IPM was housed, and the home of activist Bill O'Connor. While the IPM struggled to maintain its footing, Tom Lewis and Phil Berrigan decided to post bail. Lewis continued to work on his art after he was released from jail. Meanwhile, Phil Berrigan kept up his protest activities. As he rallied supporters to the antiwar cause, Berrigan also distanced himself from a couple of peace groups that he felt had become too timid and conventional. The Baltimore Four formulated a defense to the raft of federal criminal charges they faced: malicious destruction of property, mutilation of records, and interference with the Selective Service process. To represent them in court, they turned to a colorful Baltimore attorney named Fred Weisgal, who had built a formidable career representing civil rights and peace activists in the area.

Keywords: Interfaith Peace Mission; activists; Tom Lewis; Phil Berrigan; Baltimore Four; Fred Weisgal

Chapter.  4990 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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