19 jan 1968 & western high school
#OTD Friday 19 January 1968 Western High School (3500 R Street, NW) was still reeling from the anti-draft march and leafletting that had taken place outside of the school on Friday 12 January. More than 65 anti-draft activists marched around the perimeter of the school, handing out leaflets condemning U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and encouraging draft resistance, as students poured out of school at 3pm. The protesters had been marching since 2:30pm in the cold--the temperature was in the upper 20s. You can see snow on the school grounds in the photo.
Principal Sidney Zevin called the police and requested that they keep the marchers off school property until 3pm. According to the Washington Post, dozens of students stayed after school to engage with the anti-draft activists. Jan Bailey, via microphone, shared with students why he had chosen to resist the draft. (Read his 18 January story here.)
Many of the protesters were part of an earlier demonstration at the Justice Department, 10th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, where more than 150 had gathered to protest the indictment of Reverend William Coffin, Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman, Marcus Raskin and Dr. Benjamin Spock, who were accused of encouraging and assisting young men with draft resistance. Raskin was co-founder of the Institute for Policy Studies, organized here in 1963.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you a Western HS student, teacher or staff member in 1968? Do you remember this protest? Were you one of the protesters? Do you still have one of the leaflets? You may also comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DC Public Library Special Collections, 12 January 1968.
Jim Hoagland, "Peace Walk Splits Pupils Like Adults," Washington Post.