The Catonsville Nine File
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The ActionThe BeginningResistanceBlood to FireConsequences
During the winter of 1967-68, Philip Berrigan, joined by Tom Lewis and George Mische, began looking for others willing to engage in a new act of outright resistance to the draft.

Mische recruited former Maryknoll missionaries Thomas and Marjorie Melville, recently returned to the United States from Guatemala. Also recruited were John Hogan, another former Maryknoller; Mary Moylan, a nurse and civil-rights activist from Baltimore; and David Darst, a Christian Brother and teacher from St. Louis.

The group spent the spring planning the action, recruiting a local support group, and selecting the Catonsville draft board as the site. In the days before the event, Philip traveled to Cornell University to talk to his brother Daniel. By the next day, Dan was the ninth member.

Blood and Fire
Rather than defacing records with blood, this time they decided to destroy them with fire to symbolize the devastating effects of the war. "We use napalm on these draft records because napalm has burned people to death in Vietnam," read the press statement.

In the basement of a Baltimore rowhouse, members of the support team, including Bill O'Connor and high school physics teacher Dean Pappas, concocted napalm out of Ivory soap flakes and gasoline, using a recipe adapted from the US Special Forces Handbook. With the press alerted and the nine participants thoroughly briefed, they set out for Catonsville about noon on May 17, 1968.

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