“Guatemala Smells Like South Vietnam Did a Few Years Ago”

Shawn Francis Peters

in The Catonsville Nine

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950140 | DOI:
“Guatemala Smells Like South Vietnam Did a Few Years Ago”

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With their convictions, the Baltimore Four faced terms in federal prison of up to fifteen years each. Given the nature of their offenses—and that two of them, Phil Berrigan and James Mengel, were clergymen—few expected the quartet to receive maximum terms from Judge Edward Northrop. Still, with the federal government increasingly eager to rein in antiwar dissent, it seemed possible that the Baltimore activists would be headed for at least short stints behind bars. Their attorney, having spoken with Northrop and federal prosecutors, certainly thought so. “Weisgal says that we're going to get time,” Berrigan wrote to a family member after the trial. The priest did not fear going to jail, but first he wanted to strike another blow against the draft. Berrigan put the idea to Tom Lewis. They quickly agreed that they would try to recruit others to join in a second witness against the draft that would extend and amplify what they had done at the Custom House. The recruitment effort began even before the Baltimore Four went on trial. A dynamic Catholic peace and social justice activist named George Mische played an essential role in bringing together a larger group. Mische and the confederates he helped to organize in the spring of 1968 would become the Catonsville Nine.

Keywords: activists; Baltimore Four; Phil Berrigan; James Mengel; antiwar protests; George Mische; draft

Chapter.  8652 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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