David Harris

David Victor Harris (born February 28, 1946 in Fresno, California) is an American journalist and author. He is known chiefly for his role as an anti-war activist during the Vietnam War era, most notably as a leading opponent of the Draft. Harris was born in Fresno, California. After graduating from Fresno High School as ‘Boy of the Year’ in 1963, Harris enrolled in Stanford University. He soon became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, traveling through the Deep South to join other students in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee‘s Freedom Summer voter registration campaign in Mississippi. In 1966, he was elected student body president at Stanford, serving a one-year term. As a counter-protest, Harris’s head was forcibly shaved by a gang of masked members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity that had many football players as members and apparently a pro-war outlook. Harris was also future Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s dormitory RA during Romney’s sole year at Stanford. Draft resistance. In 1967, Harris founded an organization called The Resistance, which persuaded young men of draft age to refuse to cooperate with the Selective Service System—to return all draft cards, including exemptions and deferments, and refuse to be drafted; and to work together to end the Vietnam War. Within a few years, the Selective Service System discovered that only about half of the men sent draft notices actually showed up for their draft physicals. The number of casual no-shows was too great to prosecute them all—some of them might have made a simple mistake—so the authorities only prosecuted a few leaders of The Resistance. When Harris received his draft notice, he chose neither to report nor to flee to Canada, as draft evaders had frequently done. Harris was arrested in July 1969, and convicted of draft evasion, a federal felony. He was sentenced to a term in Federal Prison. He served about 15 months in various minimum- to medium-security prisons, where he led several hunger strikes: this provided an occasion for transfer to another prison. He was released on parole in October 1970. After his release, he gave talks about the experience. He said: ‘In prison, I lost my ideals, but not my principles.’ …”
An Interview with David Harris

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Civil Rights Mov., Draft board, Freedom Summer, SNCC, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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