Tag Archives: David Miller

David Miller Draft Card Burner

David Miller Draft Card Burner


David Miller was not the first person to burn his draft card in protest of US involvement in the Vietnam War, but his case became the most publicized.


As more and more people protested the war, various ways of demonstrating that protest began. When burning a draft card was first being done, it was not illegal to do so.


David Miller

David Miller Draft Card Burner
Eugene Keyes Draft Card Burner

For example, Eugene Keyes burned his draft card on Christmas Eve 1963. He used to flame to light a peace candle.  The same day, Selective Service mailed Keyes a notice to report for his physical examination. ( NYT article)


On May 12, 1964 twelve student publicly burned their draft cards in New York City.


On May 5, 1965, forty men burned their draft cards at the University of California, Berkeley and a coffin was marched to the Berkeley Draft Board.


On August 31, 1965, President Johnson signed a law making the burning of draft cards a federal offense subject to a five-year prison sentence and $1000 fine. [The constitutionality of the federal law was upheld by the US Supreme Court in US v. O’Brien (May 27, 1968)]


On October 15, 1965, David Miller, a Catholic pacifist,  publicly burned his draft card. Three days later, the FBI arrested him. In its November 5 issue, Time magazine described the action of Miller and other draft card burners as “a post-adolescent craze.”


Miller responded to that description from the Onondaga County Penitentiary. [note the term Vietniks]


David Miller Draft Card Burner
Nov. 26, 1965, Vol. 86, No. 22

 


Union Square burnings
David Miller Draft Card Burner
Photo by Neil Haworth, courtesy of War Resisters League
Draft-card burners in 1965 at the Union Square Pavilion, from left, Tom Cornell, Marc Edelman, Roy Lisker, David McReynolds and Jim Wilson. Dutch-born clergyman and activist A.J. Muste is at right in hat and topcoat.

Miller’s arrest did not stop the draft card burning. For example, on November 6, 1965 in Union Square, NYC, Thomas Cornell (teacher) Marc Edelman (cabinetmaker), Roy Lisker (novelist and teacher), and James Watson (on staff of Catholic Worker Pacifist Movement) burned their draft cards. (2015 Villager article)


On December 21, the four were indicted.


David Miller Draft Card Burner

David Miller


On February 10, 1966 a jury convicted David Miller of burning his draft card, A judge sentenced him to three years in prison.


As an example of how divisive the war in general and draft card burning became, on March 31, 1966, high school boys punched and kicked seven anti-Vietnam demonstrators on the steps of the South Boston District Court House after four of the protesters had burned their Selective Service cards. With shouts of “Kill them, shoot them,” about 50 to75 high school boys charged the steps and knocked the demonstrators to the ground as a crowd of 200 watched. David O’Brien, 19, was one of the card burners. On July 1, O’Brien was sentenced to a Federal Youth Correctional Center for an indefinite term.


David Miller Draft Card Burner

Judicial process


On October 13, 1966, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld Miller’s conviction. It held that Congress had the right to enact a law against destroying a draft card so long as it did not infringe on a constitutional right.


The NY Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of law prohibiting draft card burning on December 12, 1966. The appeal charged that the law was an unconstitutional abridgment of the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment and its purpose is to suppress dissent.


The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held unconstitutional the amendment to the Selective Service Act that forbade the burning of draft cards on April 10, 1967.


On May 27, 1968, in United States v. O’Brien in a 7 – 1 opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the 1965 law that made it a crime to burn or otherwise destroy or mutilate a draft card. Chief Justice Warren, writing the majority opinion, rejected the lower court’s contention that draft card burning was “symbolic speech” and that Congress was forbidden by the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantees to outlaw it. (Oyez article)


David Miller Draft Card Burner

David Miller Draft Card Burner


Miller later wrote I Didn’t Know God Made Honky-Tonk Communists.  Here is a link to an excerpt from the Reclaiming Quarterly site. 


David Miller Draft Card Burner
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October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18 Peace Love Activism

Technological Milestones

Long distance telephone
October 18, 1892: the first long distance telephone line between Chicago and New York was opened. (see June 21, 1893)
Transistor radio

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 1954: Industrial Development Engineering Associates announced the first practical transistor radio, the Regency TR-1. (see Nov 1)

US Labor History

Feminism
October 18, 1911: New York City agreed to pay women school teachers a rate equal to that of men. (Labor, see Dec 5; Feminism, see January > March 1912)

Black History

Irene Morgan
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOn July 16, 1944,  Irene Morgan (age 27), recovering from a miscarriage and traveling by bus from Virginia to Baltimore for a doctor’s appointment refused to relinquish her seat [as well as another Black woman] to a white couple. The driver, angered by Morgan's refusal, drove the bus to the Middlesex County town of Saluda and stopped outside the jail. A sheriff's deputy came aboard and told Morgan that he had a warrant for her arrest. She continued to refuse and had to be physically subdued. She was jailed for resisting arrest and violating Virginia's segregation law. On this date [October 18, 1944} Morgan was convicted. On January 27, 1001, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. (BH, see June 3, 1946)

October 18 Peace Love Activism

Tommie Smith and John Carlos

October 18, 1968: the U.S. Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos, for giving a “black power” salute as a protest during a victory ceremony in Mexico City. (see “In November”)

October 18 Music et al

Quarry Men
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18, 1957,  The Beatles before their US appearance: The Quarry Men performed at the New Clubmoor Hall (Conservative Club), Norris Green, Liverpool. This was Paul McCartney's first appearance with the group. The line-up for The Quarry Men was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Eric Griffiths, Colin Hanton, and Len Garry. Paul McCartney, suffering from a case of the stage jitters, flubs his guitar solo on the song "Guitar Boogie". Upset with his playing, Paul tries to make amends by showing John a song he had written, "I Lost My Little Girl". John then shows Paul some songs that he has composed. The two start writing songs together from that moment, which marks the birth of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. Pete Shotton, out of the group by this time, had no real musical ability and knew it; he was almost relieved when, during a drunken argument, John Lennon had smashed Pete's washboard over Pete's head. That was the end of Pete Shotton's career as a Quarry Man. (see Jan 24, 1958)
WNEW-FM
October 18, 1967:  press release from WNEW-FM announcing that Rosko will be joining station on October 31. (see Oct 29)
Rolling Stone magazine
October 18 Peace Love Activism
October 18, 1967: the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine released with a cover dated Nov 9 and featuring a photograph of John Lennon in the film How I Won the War. (see Dec 22)
John & Yoko arrested

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 1968: John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrested by the Drugs Squad. Lennon and Ono were temporarily living at Ringo Starr's flat at 34 Montagu Square, London. Following a tip-off from a newspaper journalist friend, they had thoroughly cleaned the flat to make sure it was free of drugs. Lennon related: All of a sudden, there was this knock on the door and a woman's voice outside, and I look around and there is a policeman standing in the window, waiting to be let it. We'd been in bed and our lower regions were uncovered. Yoko ran into the bathroom to get dressed with her head poking out, so they wouldn't think she was hiding anything. Then I said, 'Ring the lawyer, quick,' but she went and rang Apple. I will never know why.... That thing was set up. The Daily Express was there before the cops came. In fact, Don Short had told us, 'They're coming to get you,' three weeks before. So, believe me, I'd cleaned the house out, because Jimi Hendrix had lived there before in the apartment, and I'm not stupid. I went through the whole damn house. (see Nov 1)
“I Can’t Get Next To You”
October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18 – 31, 1969: “I Can’t Get Next To You” by The Temptations #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Cold War

Cuban Missile Crisis
October 18 Peace Love Activism
October 18, 1962: President Kennedy met with Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko, who claimed the weapons were for defensive purposes only. Not wanting to expose what he already knew, and wanting to avoid panicking the American public, Kennedy did not reveal that he was already aware of the missile build-up. (see Cuban missile crisis)
Vietnam & DRAFT CARD BURNING
October 18, 1965: the FBI arrested David Miller for burning draft card on October 15. (Vietnam, see Oct 30; Draft Card, see Nov 6)

Environmental Issues

October 18, 1972: Congress passed the Clean Water Act, overriding President Richard M. Nixon's veto. (see December 28, 1973) (NYT Clean Water Act article) 
October 18 Peace Love Activism

LGBTQ

October 18, 2012: the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan became the second in the nation to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The decision upheld a lower court judge who ruled that the 1996 law that defines marriage as involving a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The three-judge panel said the law violates equal protection. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier in the year also found it unconstitutional. (see October 23, 2012) (NYT article)
New Jersey

October 18 Peace Love Activism

October 18, 2013 (Friday), LGBTQ: NJ state Supreme Court ruled that  the state must begin granting same-sex marriage licenses on October 21 (Monday) (see Oct 21) (NYT article)

Newsweek

October 18 Peace Love ActivismOctober 18, 2012, Newsweek magazine, in print publication since February 17, 1933, announced that would end print publication at the end of the year. (NYT article)

Sexual Abuse of Children

Boy Scouts of America
October 18, 2012: thousands of pages of internal documents, police files and newspaper clippings were released about how the Boy Scouts of America had policed the ranks of its scoutmasters and other volunteers to guard against sexual predators — and how they had often failed. The files were put together over a 20-year period in states across the nation on 1,247 men who were accused of abuse between 1965 and 1985, often with multiple victims. The release of the documents creates, for the first time, a public database on specific abuse accusations. (Sexual abuse, see Dec 21; BSA, see January 28, 2013) (NYT article)

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