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The Catonsville NineAn American Story$
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Shawn Francis Peters

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827855

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827855.001.0001

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“My God, They’re Burning Our Records!”

“My God, They’re Burning Our Records!”

(p.97) 8 “My God, They’re Burning Our Records!”
The Catonsville Nine

Shawn Francis Peters

Oxford University Press

Even before the Baltimore Four raid in October 1967, draft boards were viewed as inviting potential targets for antiwar demonstrators, and Selective Service officials attempted to prepare draft personnel on how to handle protests at their offices. In July of that year, draft boards throughout Maryland received from state field director Katherine Kindervatter a memorandum on the appropriate procedures to follow if a “local board [is] picketed or [a] sit-down strike occurs on local board premises.” Kindervatter's worst fears about the security of Maryland's draft records were realized at Local Board 33 in Catonsville shortly before 1 o'clock on Friday, May 17, 1968. After the demonstrators hauled the files from Local Board 33, draft board clerk Mary Murphy initially was too stunned to react. She recovered quickly, though, and made her way out of the building to the parking lot, where the fire already was burning. Although they were now engulfed in flames, Murphy still felt that the files were her responsibility. After determining that the raiders were destroying the files they had seized, she went back up to the disarrayed draft board and phoned the state Selective Service headquarters.

Keywords:   Mary Murphy, military draft, Selective Service System, draft boards

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