At 4 a.m. on Aug. 22, 1971, eight anti-Vietnam War protestors went up a ladder outside the federal building in Camden, N.J., and broke into the offices of the local draft board. For two hours, they shredded Selective Service records before they were surprised by FBI agents.
Twenty co-conspirators were also soon arrested and in 1973 the "Camden 28," each facing sentences of 47 years on seven felony counts, went on trial. How and why did these individuals, including four Catholic priests and a Protestant minister, intentionally placed themselves at risk of arrest and imprisonment while protesting the war in Vietnam.
The activists claimed that their civil disobedience was meant to call attention to their belief that killing--even in war--was morally indefensible.
From 1967 to 1971, similar break-ins had occurred at numerous draft boards throughout the country, but the 63-day trial of the Camden 28, which received national media attention, was the only one which saw the defendants acquitted.