This Day in History

March 22, 1969: DC 9 Protest Dow Chemical Production of Napalm

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Wars & Related Anti-War Movements

Nine protesters are led out of the Dow Chemical offices. Source: Washington Area SPARK.

Source: National Catholic Reporter.

On March 22, 1969, nine protesters smashed glass, hurled files out a fourth floor window, and poured blood on files and furniture at the Dow Chemical offices in Washington, D.C.

In a prepared statement, the nine noted that Dow seeks “profit in the production of napalm, defoliants and nerve gas.” They acted because of Dow’s “refusal to accept responsibility for programmed destruction of human life.”

The nine arrested were Rev. Robert T. Begin, Rev. Michael R. Dougherty, Sister Joann Malone, Rev. Arthur G. Melville, Catherine Melville, Father Meyer, Rev. Dennis J. Moloney, Rev. Joseph F. O’Rourke, and Michael Slaski.

On May 7, 1970, the nine were sentenced to terms ranging from three months to six years in jail. Their lawyer, Phillip J. Hirchkop was censured and sentenced to 30 days in jail for his trial conduct.

Seven of the nine appealed and won a reversal of their convictions at the U.S. Court of Appeals in June 1972 that ruled that Judge John H. Pratt had erred when he denied the defendants the right to represent themselves. Hirchkop was cleared of contempt in a separate ruling in July 1972.

This description and the lead image come from Washington Area Spark. Read more in “‘Dow Shalt Not Kill’: The Story of the D.C. Nine” via WETA.

Joann Malone went on to teach high school social studies in Washington, D.C. and Maryland and served on the board of Teaching for Change, one of the coordinating organizations of the Zinn Education Project.