Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Harrisburg [Pennsylvania] Defense Committee Collected Records, 1970-1973

Collection: CDG-A



Contact Information

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator)
Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: wchmiel1@swarthmore.edu (Curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/


Descriptive Summary
Repository
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for this collection of records.
Creator
Harrisburg Defense Committee
Title
Harrisburg Defense Committee Collected Records
Inclusive Dates
1970-1973
Call Number
CDG-A

Language of Materials
Materials in English
Extent
5 linear inches [papers only]
Abstract
On January 12, 1971, Dr. Eqbal Ahmad, Father Philip Berrigan, Sister Elizabeth McAlister, Father Neil McLaughlin, Anthony Scoblick (a married priest), and Father Joseph Wenderoth were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger and blow up the heating systems of federal buildings in Washington, D.C. The government also cited as co-conspirators Father Daniel Berrigan, Sister Beverly Bell, Marjorie Shuman, Paul Mayer (a married priest), Sister Jogues Egan, Thomas Davidson and William Davidon.

The six defendants were arraigned on February 8, 1971 and each pled 'not guilty.' A second indictment was handed down on April 30, 1971 in which John Theodore (Ted) Glick was added to those charged (the defendants were thereafter known as the Harrisburg 8), and the charges were expanded to include destroying files and property of the federal government, and conspiracy to possess illegal explosives. Finally, on April 5, 1972 the jury returned its verdict: Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister were found guilty on seven counts dealing with the smuggling of letters in and out of Lewisburg prison; they were unable to reach an agreement (10 to 2) about acquitting the other defendants.


Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
None
Usage Restrictions
None
Alternate Form of Material
None
Acquisitions Information
Unknown
Processing Information
Processed by SCPC staff. Checklist prepared by Anne Yoder, February 1999. Finding aid revised by Andrew Ciampa, July 2010.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Harrisburg Defense Committee Collected Records (CDG-A), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record


Related Collections
Daniel and Philip Berrigan Collected Papers (CDG-A)
Harrisburg Center for Peace and Justice (CDG-A)


Historical Background
On November 27, 1970, FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, testified before an appropriations subcommittee of the U.S. Senate regarding his request for $14.1 million to hire 1,000 additional agents and 702 clerks. He also announced "an incipient plot on the part of an anarchist group . . . the so-called 'East Coast Conspiracy to Save Lives' . . . a militant group, self-described as being composed of Catholic priests and nuns, teachers, students, and former students. . . . The principal leaders are . . . Philip and Daniel Berrigan. . . . If successful, the plotters would demand an end to United States bombing operations in Southeast Asia and the release of all political prisoners as ransom. Intensive investigation is being conducted concerning this matter." On January 12, 1971, Dr. Eqbal Ahmad, Father Philip Berrigan, Sister Elizabeth McAlister, Father Neil McLaughlin, Anthony Scoblick (a married priest), and Father Joseph Wenderoth were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to kidnap Henry Kissinger and blow up the heating systems of federal buildings in Washington, D.C. The government also cited as co-conspirators Father Daniel Berrigan, Sister Beverly Bell, Marjorie Shuman, Paul Mayer (a married priest), Sister Jogues Egan, Thomas Davidson and William Davidon. The defendants were arrested and jailed (the Berrigans were already in Danbury prison for their anti-war protests); five were released on bail over the course of the next few weeks.

The six defendants were arraigned on February 8, 1971 and each pled 'not guilty.' A second indictment was handed down on April 30, 1971 in which John Theodore (Ted) Glick was added to those charged (the defendants were thereafter known as the Harrisburg 8), and the charges were expanded to include destroying files and property of the federal government, and conspiracy to possess illegal explosives. On the same day, 2,000 people protested at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. in a demonstration organized by the Harrisburg Defense Committee in conjunction with other defense groups representing victims of political repression. Over 350 people were arrested for blocking the entrances to the Justice Department. The case continued for a number of months and received widespread attention. Finally, in April 5, 1972 the jury returned its verdict: Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister were found guilty on seven counts dealing with the smuggling of letters in and out of Lewisburg prison; they were unable to reach an agreement (10 to 2) about acquitting the other defendants.

This collection contains newspaper articles about the trial, and a small amount of material produced by the Harrisburg Defense Committee and other defense groups.






Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Defendants: biographical information / writings / interviews / statements
Statements of support for defendants
Chronology of events, 1970 (November) - 1972 (February)
Material, 1971 (December) - 1972; month unknown (1971 - 1972)
Indictment / Lawsuit / Trial documents
Ad Hoc Committee in Support of the Harrisburg 6, Philadelphia (PA)
40 Day Committee, New York Harrisburg Defense Committee, New York (New York)
Harrisburg 8 Defense Committee, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), 1973
Harrisburg Pilgrimage Committee, Boston (Massachusetts)
"The Pilgrimage Manual: A Source Kit on Organizing," 1972 (February)
MS "Movement Manual on Grand Juries," undated
"The Harrisburg Defense Committee Newsletter," 1971 (December 3) - 1972 (April 25) [catalogued]

Harrisburg Independent Press (A Special Supplement) [April 1972?]


This file was last updated on May 10, 2011.