Forty-four years ago Thursday, nine men and women entered what was then the Selective Service office on Frederick Road in Catonsville, removed hundreds of draft records and burned them with homemade napalm outside of the building.
Located on the second floor of the Knights of Columbus building on Frederick and Beaumont, the small local draft board was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight.
Perpetrated by what became known as the Catonsville Nine, the group of Catholic missionaries were morally opposed to the military engagement in Vietnam. The nine included poet and former priest Daniel Berrigan, his brother Philip Berrigan, also a former priest, and seven others.
In 1980, the Berrigan brothers and six others formed The Plowshares Movement.
The brazen act of civil disobedience on May 17, 1968, marked a turning point in public sentiment against the Vietnam conflict and remains an inspiration to activists today, as Occupy Baltimore posted about the anniversary on Facebook and Twitter.
The incidents of the day have been documented over the years in books, through filmmakers and in local history collections.
One of the most comprehensive collections can be found online through the Enoch Pratt Free Library, which includes profiles of all the nine activists and coverage of the trial, which also gained national attention. Many of the documents are also saved in the Local History Room at the Catonsville Library.
Daniel Berrigan wrote a play, "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine," based on court transcripts, that was performed on Broadway in 1971 and made into a film the following year.
A documentary, "Investigation of a Flame," was made by Lynne Sachs in 2003 that explored the motives of the activists.
Several years ago, two filmmakers, Joe Trapoea and Skizz Cyzyk, raised funds through a Kickstarter campaign to make a new documentary looking at the Catonsville Nine and several other similar incidents at that time. The film "Hit and Stay" has yet to be released, but the filmmakers wrote on their website they are still seeking funds to finish the project this year.
To view a five-minute trailer of the film, go here.
You tell us: What do you think of the actions of the Catonsville Nine? Post in the comments below.