Recognizing the Catonsville Nine anniversary

The Catonsville Nine 50th Committee, UMBC’s Shriver Center and Maryland Humanities are sponsoring a series of events in May to celebrate the the 50th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine.

In addition to other events throughout the month, art and artifacts related to the Catonsville Nine will be on display at the A.O.K. Library from April 23 to May 24.

The Catonsville Nine were a group of nine Roman Catholic men and women who burned 400 war draft files in a parking lot in May of 1968 to protest the violent bloodshed that was occurring during the Vietnam War.

As a result of their actions and the series of events that happened afterwards, over 50 draft board actions were staged across the United States. This led to the end of war drafting in the 1970s, making today’s military completely voluntary.

The members of the Catonsville Nine were: Father Phillip Berrigan, Tom Lewis, Father Daniel Berrigan, Brother David Darst, John Hogan, Marjorie Melville, Thomas Melville, George Mische and Mary Moylan. 

Melville, one of the Nine, will be present for the events taking place from May 4 to May 6.

The following event information comes from the Catonsville Nine website:

May 4 at 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Symposium at UMBC

UMBC will host an afternoon and evening symposium in its Public Policy Building.​ Speakers include Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Peace Activist Frank Cordaro and Catonsville Nine participant Marjorie Melville among many others. Breakout discussions will take place on peace education, strategies for social justice and spirituality and activism.

May 5 at 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Commemoration Day in Catonsville

Commemoration Day events include a keynote by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, the unveiling of a Catonsville Nine historical marker and reflections from living legacy participants including Marjorie Melville and Dave Eberhardt among others as well as local Catonsville residents. These events will take place at Catonsville Presbyterian Church (1400 Frederick Road) and at Catonsville Public Library (1100 Frederick Road).

May 6 at 6:30 p.m.: Evening Prayer Service

A prayer service at Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville​ will feature a keynote reflection from Father Joe Muth of St. Matthews Catholic Church and musical selections from the Charm City Labor Chorus. Salem Lutheran Church is located at 905 Frederick Road.

May 12 at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Documentary film screening​

The Maryland Historical Society will host a screening of Lynne Sachs’ documentary​, “Investigation of a Flame,” ​and a discussion of the film with Lynne Sachs and other local filmmakers. During this event, MDHS will open a new exhibit: Activism & Art: The Catonsville Nine 50 Years Later.

May 12​ ​to May 31: Activism & Art: The Catonsville Nine 50 Years Later exhibit at Maryland Historical Society featuring artwork from Catonsville Nine member Tom Lewis — on display at Maryland Historical Society during regular museum hours. Regular admission prices apply.

May 17 at 7:30 p.m.: ​”The Trial of the Catonsville Nine” ​Opening Night in Catonsville

Salem Players in Catonsville presents its Opening Night Performance of “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine” by member of the Catonsville Nine Dan Berrigan. Additional performances are on May 18, May 19, May 25 and May 26 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on May 27. The cast performs at Salem Lutheran Church​ in Catonsville.