This Day in History

Nov. 6, 1965: Draft Card Protest

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

On Nov 6. 1965, five men (Thomas Cornell, Marc Paul Edelman, Roy Lisker, David McReynolds, and James Wilson) burned their draft cards at the Union Square Pavilion in New York City.

Draft Card Burning 1965

Thomas Cornell, Marc Paul Edelman (now Marco Polo), Roy Lisker, David McReynolds and James Wilson. On the right is 80-year-old pacifist A. J. Muste, whose work connected the labor, anti-war, and Civil Rights Movements. Photo by Neil Haworth. Source: War Resisters League.

This was an act of solidarity with Catholic pacifist David Miller who became the first U.S. war protester to publicly burn his draft card on Oct. 15, 1965, in direct violation of a recently passed federal law forbidding such acts. FBI agents later arrested Miller; he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to two years in prison.

On the right in the photo above is 80-year-old pacifist A. J. Muste, whose work connected the labor, anti-war, and Civil Rights Movements.

Here are lessons for teaching about the Vietnam War.