Mass Moments – an electronic almanac of Massachusetts history- reminds us today that:
…in 1968, four men were sentenced to federal prison for counseling young men to refuse military service. Dubbed the Boston Five, the defendants included famed baby doctor Benjamin Spock and Yale Chaplain William Sloane Coffin. They had participated in a series of protests at which young men turned in or burned their draft cards to demonstrate their unwillingness to serve in the Vietnam War. Boston’s long history of opposing authority when it came into conflict with conscience and its large student population made the city fertile ground for the draft resistance movement. Although the movement in Boston had considerable strength, anti-war activists in general, and draft resisters in particular, faced hostility from people who believed that to defy the government was unpatriotic.
Read the full story here to get the historical context and more information on “draft card burning” in protest of the Vietnam War. Over the following years into the 1970s, other anti- war events took place in Massachusetts including the arrests of protesters on the Lexington Green. Read the story at “Mass Moments – May 30, 1971” here.