Photo of the Day: Burning His Draft Card

In Front of the Oakland Army Induction Center, December, 1967

December, 1967. Protester Burns His Draft Card. Stop the Draft Week, Oakland, CA.

December, 1967. Protester Burns His Draft Card. Stop the Draft Week, Oakland, CA.

The Harvey Richard Media Archive has been very active lately, receiving growing interest around the the country and the world from people interested in our history, and especially in our history of resistance to war.  This weeks photo of the brave protester burning his draft card in front of the Oakland Army Induction Center was chosen because over the last 30 days, this photo received more views than of any other destinations on the website.

Stop the Draft Week in December, 1967 at the Oakland Army Induction Center on Clay Street in downtown Oakland, California had many of the same actions that as those that occurred in October, 1967, just two months earlier.  There was civil disobedience.  Protesters blocked the doorway of the Center and were arrested.  This time, protesters also sat down in front of the buses full of draftees.  Draft eligible protesters publicly burned their draft cards in an open show of defiance against the draft and the laws that made it illegal to burn your draft card.  Noticeably different in the December events is moderation of the police response.  The streets were not cleared of protesters as they were in October.  Police did not stand with billy clubs at the ready.  In the end, the protest did not stop the draft and the draftees went into the center and the war machine continued. But an unmistakable message had been delivered to the nation that had far reaching consequences then and in our future.

Harvey Richards became a photographer in large part to overcome the isolation imposed on the peace movements against war by mainstream press censorship and bias in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. Protests against war got little or no press coverage from the established media.  He started out with still photography and then motion pictures.  By the end of the 1960s he produced five films (all available as DVDs) and shot thousands of images of peace demonstrations against war in the Bay Area.   These films are EverymanWomen for PeaceHot Damn!, Decision in the Streets, and No Greater Cause.  His photo images of the peace movement are displayed in photo image galleries that can be found on the photo images menu choice on this website. He photographed the protests against nuclear testing and for nuclear disarmament in 1958.  He went to Nevada when Women for Peace picketed the nuclear test site there.  He documented the Everyman, a boat built to sail into the nuclear testing zones in the Pacific.  He filmed the Hands Off Cuba demonstrations, the anti-HUAC demonstrations and the early anti-Vietnam war protests by groups such as the Committe for Non-Violent Action (CNVA).  When the war escalated, the peace marches swelled in size.  Richards photographed anti-napalm demonstrations, the Vietnam Day Committee march from Berkeley to Oakland in 1965. the Spring, 1967 Peace Mobilization, and the ever larger marches in San Francisco in the years that followed.  He took special care to document the increasing role of active duty soldiers and Vietnam veterans protesting the war.  His images show the powerful upsurge against war that helped end the Vietnam war early.  It is a powerful legacy for peace minded people confronting the forces of endless war now in power in the USA.


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