“America Is Hard to Find”

Shawn Francis Peters

in The Catonsville Nine

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827855
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950140 | DOI:
“America Is Hard to Find”

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In the spring of 1970, the surviving Catonsville demonstrators gathered at Viva House, the Catholic Worker residence in Baltimore, and discussed what they might do if their legal appeals fizzled and the federal government attempted to send them to prison. They realized that they were at an important crossroads: they could submit to the federal government, or they could continue to witness for peace outside prison. Dan Berrigan later described his own choice to go underground as having been fairly easy, but had he been faced with it earlier, he might have approached things differently. Initially, Berrigan believed that his time underground would be relatively brief—perhaps a period of a few weeks. Before making the decision not to report for his prison sentence, Berrigan had spoken with some antiwar friends who were organizing “America Is Hard to Find,” a weekend protest celebration that was scheduled to held be at Cornell on April 17–19. “At this point,” he later said, “I didn't think I'd be out beyond the Cornell thing.” He thought that, having made his point by evading federal authorities for about ten days, he might turn himself in at the festival itself, or immediately after.

Keywords: Dan Berrigan; Viva House; prison; Cornell; going underground

Chapter.  6111 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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