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Igal Roodenko

Igal Roodenko

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Igal Roodenko, the son of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine, was born on the 8th February, 1917. His father owned a small retail shop in New York City. Roodenko was raised as a Zionist and a socialist. He later recalled that at home he was taught "all the good values - humanist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist... the word socialist was a holy word to us."

Roodenko studied horticulture at Cornell University (1934-1938) with the intention of taking these skills to Palestine. He was radicalized at university and joined League for Industrial Democracy and the American Student Union. However, at university he became a pacifist and decided to stay in the United States: "aware of the conflict between my pacifism and my Zionism, and then ceased being a nationalist."

During the early stages of the Second World War Roodenko organized anti-war demonstrations. As Anne Yoder has pointed out: "Roodenko... circulated petitions, and wrote letters to Congressmen and newspaper editors urging their support of world peace. Roodenko's arguments were already incisive, showing the ability to cut through rhetoric to the root of a problem, and presented in a powerful style that not only highlighted his firm commitment to his beliefs but his ability to move others to action."

In 1942 he registered his conscientious objection to war and refused to accept being drafted into the military. In July 1943, he joined the Bureau of Land Reclamation of the Department of the Interior. Along with other pacifists he helped to erect an earth dam at the head of the Mancos River to irrigate Mancos Valley.

On 29th September, 1943, six war objectors imprisoned at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, started a hunger strike against censorship of mail and reading material by prison authorities. The following month Roodenko began his own hunger and work strike in support of these men: "My concern was with... censorship which occasionally reached preposterous depths of pettiness and stupidity, censorship of mail and reading matter which frequently denied men the opportunity of reading and writing about those very matters which made them sacrifice comforts and respect for the ignominy and disrepute of a prison record."

Roodenko was arrested for his refusal to work and on 6th June, 1944 a Denver judge found Roodenko guilty and sentenced him to three years in a federal penitentiary. He was released from Sandstone Federal Correctional Institution in Minnesota in December 1946.

On his release he joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). In early 1947, CORE announced plans to send eight white and eight black men into the Deep South to test the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in interstate travel unconstitutional. organized by George Houser and Bayard Rustin, the Journey of Reconciliation was to be a two week pilgrimage through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Although Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) was against this kind of direct action, he volunteered the service of its southern attorneys during the campaign. Thurgood Marshall, head of the NAACP's legal department, was strongly against the Journey of Reconciliation and warned that a "disobedience movement on the part of Negroes and their white allies, if employed in the South, would result in wholesale slaughter with no good achieved."

The Journey of Reconciliation began on 9th April, 1947. The team included Igal Roodenko, George Houser, Bayard Rustin, James Peck, Joseph Felmet, Nathan Wright, Conrad Lynn, Wallace Nelson, Andrew Johnson, Eugene Stanley, Dennis Banks, William Worthy, Louis Adams, Worth Randle and Homer Jack.

James Peck was arrested with Bayard Rustin and Andrew Johnson in Durham. After being released he was arrested once again in Asheville and charged with breaking local Jim Crow laws. In Chapel Hill five members of the team was dragged off the bus and physically assaulted before being taken into custody by the local police.

Members of the Journey of Reconciliation team were arrested several times. In North Carolina, two of the African Americans, Bayard Rustin and Andrew Johnson, were found guilty of violating the state's Jim Crow bus statute and were sentenced to thirty days on a chain gang. However, Judge Henry Whitfield made it clear he found that behaviour of the white men even more objectionable. He told Igal Roodenko and Joseph Felmet: "It's about time you Jews from New York learned that you can't come down her bringing your ******s with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson, I gave your black boys thirty days, and I give you ninety."

The Journey of Reconciliation achieved a great deal of publicity and was the start of a long campaign of direct action by the Congress of Racial Equality. In February 1948 the Council Against Intolerance in America gave George Houser and Bayard Rustin the Thomas Jefferson Award for the Advancement of Democracy for their attempts to bring an end to segregation in interstate travel.

Roodenko was an active member of the War Resisters League (WRL) and was a member of its Executive Committee for thirty years. During the Vietnam War he was arrested ten times while taking part in anti-war protests. In 1970 he became a full-time worker for WRL. He was also active in Men of All Colors Together, a gay men's group working against racism within the gay community.

Igal Roodenko died of a heart attack on 28th April, 1991.

If you are a Negro, sit in a front seat. If you are white, sit in a rear seat.

If the driver asks you to move, tell him calmly and courteously: "As an interstate passenger I have a right to sit anywhere in this bus. This is the law as laid down by the United States Supreme Court".

If the driver summons the police and repeats his order in their presence, tell him exactly what you said when he first asked you to move.

If the police asks you to "come along," without putting you under arrest, tell them you will not go until you are put under arrest.

If the police put you under arrest, go with them peacefully. At the police station, phone the nearest headquarters of the NAACP, or one of your lawyers. They will assist you.

April 9, 1947: First Freedom Ride

On April 9, 1947, the first freedom ride, the Journey of Reconciliation, left Washington, D.C. to travel through four states of the upper South.

The Journey of Reconciliation was organized by the Congress of Racial Equality with the leadership of Fellowship of Reconciliation staffers Bayard Rustin and George Houser. It followed the 1946 court case of Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia where the Supreme Court ruled: “that segregation in interstate travel was indeed unconstitutional as ‘an undue burden on commerce.'”

Local activist Yonni Chapman (now deceased) and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP were instrumental in getting a marker erected for the freedom riders.

Related Resources

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin

Film. Produced by Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer. 2002. 83 min.
Documentary about the life of peace, labor, and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1985

Film. Produced by Henry Hampton. Blackside. 1987. 360 min.
Comprehensive documentary history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Freedom Riders

Film. Written, produced, and directed by Stanley Nelson. 2011. 120 minutes.
A first-hand look at the 1961 rides from the Freedom Riders themselves and others who were there.

July 16, 1944: Irene Morgan Refuses to Change Seats on Bus

Irene Morgan refused to change her seat on a segregated bus in Virginia.

June 8, 1961: Freedom Riders Arrested

Freedom Riders traveling from New Orleans to Jackson were arrested in 1961.

Ⓘ Igal Roodenko. Roodenko graduated from Townsend Harris High School in Manhattan, New York. He attended Cornell University from 1934 to 1938, where he received a ..

Roodenko graduated from Townsend Harris High School in Manhattan, New York. He attended Cornell University from 1934 to 1938, where he received a degree in horticulture. Roodenko was a gay man, and a printer by trade.

He was an active member of the War Resisters League WRL, and was a conscientious objector to military service in World War II. Roodenko was on the executive committee of the WRL from 1947 to 1977, and was the leagues chairman from 1968 to 1972. Early in the war, he was sent to a camp in Montezuma County, Colorado to perform Civilian Public Service in lieu of military service. Roodenkos principles led him to refuse to work, which in turn led to his arrest, conviction, and imprisonment at the Federal Correctional Institution, Sandstone. He sued the United States government, challenging the constitutionality of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. On 22 December 1944, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit found against Roodenko, and the United States Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari on 26 March 1945. He and conscientious objectors in six other federal prisons began a hunger strike on 11 May 1946 to draw attention to the plight of war resistors. Roodenko was not released from prison until January 1947.

Roodenko was an early member of the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution, a pacifist group founded in New York City in 1946. Other prominent members included Ralph DiGia, Dave Dellinger, George Houser, and Bayard Rustin. After his release from prison, Roodenko lived in a tenement at 217 Mott Street on the Lower East Side of New York. Rustin rented an apartment one floor below Roodenko, and this proximity, along with the exceptional number of young radicals living on Mott Street and on nearby Mulberry Street and elsewhere in the neighborhood, enabled Roodenkos continuing activism.

In 1947 he was arrested with Rustin and a number of other protestors during the Journey of Reconciliation for deliberately violating a North Carolina law requiring segregated seating on public transportation. At their trial, Rustin and Roodenko were both convicted. Rustin was sentenced to 30 days on a North Carolina chain gang. The judge said to Roodenko, "Now, Mr. Rodenky sic, I presume youre Jewish." "Yes, I am," Roodenko replied. "Well, its about time you Jews from New York learned that you cant come down bringing your nigras with you to upset the customs of the South. Just to teach you a lesson," the judge sentenced him to 90 days on a chain gang - three times the length of Rustins sentence.

Roodenko was arrested numerous other times throughout his life: in 1962 for leading a peace rally in Times Square his sentence was suspended, as the judge was sympathetic with the aims of the protestors. At other times for protesting against mistreatment of Soviet dissidents, against Cornell Universitys investments in South Africa, and, in Poland in 1987, along with four other members of the WRL, for trying to strengthen organizational connections with Polish dissidents. At the time of his death, Roodenko was a member of Men of all Colors Together.

In 1983, discussing the difficulties of political activism with a reporter from the New York Times, Roodenko memorably stated that "if it were easy, any schmo could be a pacifist." Roodenko died on 28 April 1991 in Beekman Downtown Hospital in New York of a heart attack. He is survived by his niece, Amy Zowniriw.

Tag: Igal Roodenko

We include here a video that contains excerpts of audio from a 1974 oral history interview with Igal Roodenko, participant in the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, from the collection of the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) at UNC Chapel Hill. The SOHP’s oral histories are archived and preserved at the Southern Historical Collection. Several hundred of these oral histories have been digitized and are available online. To listen to the full interview with Igal Roodenko, please visit:

This video also contains a montage of images, primarily taken from the holdings of the Southern Historical Collection. The SHC contains scattered documentation about the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation and about the life and work of Reverend Charles M. Jones, including (but not limited to):

  • Charles M. Jones Papers (finding aid for collection #5168)
  • Robert L. Johnson Papers (finding aid for collection #5362)
  • Fellowship of Southern Churchmen Records (finding aid for collection #3479)
  • Joseph Felmet Papers (finding aid for collection #4513)
  • Southern Oral History Program (finding aid for collection #4007): Including these digitized interviews B-0010 A-0035 B-0041 and others not yet digitized.

We are very proud to be the repository for these important primary source materials documenting this often-forgotten episode of Southern history. However, we can’t help but notice that there are many missing pieces in the archival record that might tell the rest of the story. Could it be that there really is only one photograph of the 1947 freedom riders? What about documentation of the cab drivers and others who opposed the riders? We still have our work cut out for us.

Andrew Young oral history interview

Image of Andrew Young from Library of Congress (this public domain photograph is not part of the SHC's collections)

UNC’s Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) collects interviews with Southerners who have made significant contributions to a variety of fields and interviews that will render historically visible those whose experience is not reflected in traditional written sources. The Southern Historical Collection is the repository for oral histories collected by the SOHP.

The SOHP has digitized 500 interviews from the collection, through a project called Oral Histories of the American South. Periodically, “Southern Sources” will share links to audio of selected SOHP interviews.

Today, we are pleased to feature an SOHP interview with Andrew Young. Andrew Young was the first African American congressman from Georgia since Reconstruction. First elected in 1972, Young was later appointed as ambassador to the United Nations by Jimmy Carter.

In this SOHP interview, Young discusses the nature of racial discrimination in the South and describes his involvement in voter registration drives. Throughout the interview, he draws comparisons between race relations within southern states and those between the North and South. According to Young, it was access to political power that ultimately altered the tides of racial prejudice in the South. He cites the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as a decisive turning point in race relations. For Young, it was the election of African Americans to positions of power that allowed African Americans to bring to fruition other advances they had made in education, business, and social standing.

Interview Menu (Description, Transcript, and Audio): Andrew Young interview menu (from the SOHP)

Queer history materials in Swarthmore Special Collections

Jane Addams Collection-130 linear feet
Jane Addams (1860-1935), was a world-famous social reformer who co-founded Hull House the first settlement house in America in 1889. Addams lived most of her adult life with her long-time companion Mary Rozet Smith. Addams championed many causes on behalf of the urban poor, such as protection of immigrants, child labor laws, industrial safety, juvenile courts, and recognition of labor unions. She was a leading thinker and writer about issues of democracy, internationalism, peace, and human rights. Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Mary Rozet Smith also worked at Hull House, especially in the various educational projects and classes offered there. The collection contains many letters between the women, concerning their decades long relationship.

Anita Augspurg (1857-1943), and Lida Gustava Heymann (1868-1943)- were prominent German feminists and peace activists who lived together for over 40 years. They were two of the few German women to attend the international meeting of women opposed to World War I, held at The Hague in April of 1915.
Collections with holdings:
--Anita Augspurg Collected Papers-contains an unpublished biography of Heymann by Augspurg
--Jane Addams Collection
--Woman&rsquos Peace Party
--Women&rsquos International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records
-- Women&rsquos International League for Peace and Freedom International Office Records (Microfilm only)

Robert(a) Dickinson Collected Papers ( -1982) 2.5 linear inches
Roberta Dickinson was a Quaker activist, architect, and artist. Born Robert Dickinson, she underwent surgery in 1976 and after that time was known as Roberta Dickinson. The majority of resources in the Peace Collection cover Robert Dickinson&rsquos protests against the Vietnam War, and in support of war tax resistance.

Barbara Deming (1917-1984)-writer, novelist, and nonviolent direct action activist. Deming was politically active from the early 1960s until her death in the mid-1980s. In the 1960s she began to write concerning her sexuality, and integrating her beliefs in feminism with nonviolence.
Collections with holdings on Deming include:
--Committee for Nonviolent Action Records
--Bradford Lyttle Papers
--A.J. Muste Papers
--Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Papers
--War Resisters League Records

Erna Harris and Mary Sassoon-Harris and Sassoon were African American activists whose peace work came mainly through the Women&rsquos International League for Peace and Freedom. Harris was a journalist and newspaper editor and served on the national board of the U.S. Section of WILPF. Sassoon&rsquos work for WILPF was based in California, where the two women lived together and chair a local branch of the organization.

--Women&rsquos International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records ( contact Peace Collection staff at [email protected] for more information)
--Women&rsquos International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section Records, California Branches (contact Peace Collection staff at [email protected] for more information)

George Lakey-peace and direct nonviolent activist based in the Philadelphia area, but who inspires and trains activists all over the world. Lakey has been active for peace and against war since at least the 1960s.
Collections with holdings on Lakey include:
A Quaker Action Group Records
Movement for a New Society Records

Dorothy Marder Collection 12.75 linear feet
Dorothy Marder was a photographer, peace activist, Lesbian and Gay community member, counselor, and disabilities advocate. Her most extensive photographic work concerned women's peace activism (especially Women Strike for Peace), in the New York area between the late 1960s through the 1980s Many of her photographs appeared in peace movement and alternative press publications. Marder photographed well-known peace activists, feminists, and political figures of the last quarter of the twentieth century .
Some of Marder's photographs are in an online exhibit (no separate link yet).
Dorothy Marder also contributed over 60 t-shirts with political messages, see images #141-211 (no separate link yet).

Igal Roodenko Civil Rights, Anti-War Activist

Igal Roodenko, 74, a lifelong civil rights and anti-war activist arrested dozens of times across the country for participating in various demonstrations. A printer by trade, Roodenko occupied jail cells from the Deep South to Washington, where he was marching in support of Soviet dissidents. He also was a longtime member of gay rights organizations and was a frequent visitor to Los Angeles, where he was active in the Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center. Roodenko also had been arrested in Poland for demonstrating with members of the International War Resistance League, of which he was a longtime member. Roodenko served 20 months in a federal prison during World War II as a conscientious objector. In New York City on Sunday, apparently of a heart attack.

With the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus continuing to spread statewide, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is recommending that all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces — regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19.

At least eight people died while they were living at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys, where hundreds of homeless people have been housed through Project Roomkey.

File:Igal protesting war in Vietnam, July 4, 1966 in Copenhagen.jpeg

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While you're with us.

&hellip in May, COVID-19&rsquos disproportionate impact on Black Americans&mdashcoupled with the police killing of George Floyd&mdashsparked a moment of racial reckoning. Articles such as this one reflect Boston Review&rsquos commitment to combatting racism&mdashfrom publishing strategies to end police violence to amplifying Black voices. Long before mainstream publications focused on racial justice, Boston Review provided one of the major forums for these discussions with seriousness and subtlety. We remain committed to the belief that race has a central place in any discussion of justice, democracy, and citizenship. Join us in providing free, open spaces for these conversations by becoming a supporting reader of Boston Review today.

Igal Roodenko - History

Operating agency: AFSC

Opened: 10 1942

Closed: 3 1947


Total number of workers who worked in this camp: 702

CPS Camp No. 52, a Soil Conservation Service base camp located in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp northeast of Powellville, Maryland and operated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), opened in October 1942. AFSC operated the camp through November 15, 1944 when the Mennonite Central Committee assumed those duties until the camp closed in March 1947. The men performed dangerous work cutting and cleaning drainage channels of the Pokomoke River to limit erosion of low lying farm land.

The camp was located on the Delmarva Peninsula, between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, a mile southwest of Powellville*. Salisbury was the nearest large town fifteen miles to the northwest. CPS utilized a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that had begun a drainage project in 1939 on the Pokomoke River and continued the project. The river flowed south through the peninsula, falling about an inch to a mile. The channel, choked by silt and trees, prevented the ditches from draining the low lying farm land along the river. Farmers had abandoned the land.

*While the Directory of Civilian Public Service and other publications list the town as Powellsville, Maryland, the actual name is Powellville. (Swarthmore College Peace Collection, CPS Camp List Google)

Directors: Russell Freeman, Arthur Gamble, Dan Wilson, William Mackensen, Ernest Wildman, Leland H. Brenneman, S. Glenn Esch

Dieticians: Verda Kauffman, Ruth Smucker

Matrons: Mrs. S. Glen Esch, Margaret Dirks van der Smisssen

Nurse-Matrons: Tena Heinrichs, Lola Schertz

Many of the men who opened the camp had previously served at CPS Camp No. 3 at Patapsco, Maryland, the first CPS camp to open on May 15, 1941.

In the early years of the camp, the majority of the men reported from urban rather than rural farming communities. Given the difficult nature of the heavy manual labor required to open up drainage for the low lying agricultural land, many transferred to other camps and units. In late 1944, many transfers into the camp entered from rural areas and reported their occupation as farming or other agricultural experience. In general, about fifty-nine percent of COs in Mennonite camps and units reported farming and agricultural work as a prior occupation, while twenty-nine percent of those in Friends camps declared farming experience. (Sibley and Jacob p, 172)

Men in Friends camps tended to report the greatest religious diversity when entering CPS, with a minority of those who declared Friends affiliation, many reporting other denominational affiliations, and still others no religious affiliation. The large majority of COs at Mennonite camps, however, tended to report entering from a variety of Mennonite denominational groups, creating more similarity in religious experiences among assignees.

While men in CPS camps reported more education at point of entry than Army and Navy enlisted men, men in Friends camps entered with an average 14.27 years of education and men in Mennonite camps with an average 10.45 years of education. (Sibley and Jacob p. 171)

The dangerous work required use of axes, saws, slogging through acres of mucky soil, heavy machinery and dynamite. The accident rate had been high in the first months of operation, possibly due to lack of experience among the assignees not accustomed to manual labor. As the assignees dropped in number, AFSC, Selective Service, and MCC officials decided to transfer the remaining men and bring in a group more accustomed to this type of work.

By 1944, when the new group arrived, nine and a half miles of the drainage channel had been cut, but another five or six miles needed to be channeled, cleared and drained. First the area was staked, then timber cleared from a width of one hundred and sixty feet at the Delaware line and two hundred and ten feet at the lower end. Work crews cut down brush while other crews felled larger trees. The small brush and trees were removed to the edge of the clearing by hand, while large trees had to be pulled out by tractor. A dynamite crew then blasted the stumps in preparation for final dredging of the channel by machinery.

By autumn 1946, the water table had lowered sufficiently making it possible to farm an additional thirty-seven thousand formerly unproductive acres.

This camp, known as Pokomoke, administered by the Friends from 1942 until November 15, 1944, transferred operational leadership to the Mennonites.

John J. Fisher, Jr. arrived in the transition period. “After some awesome and sometimes risky weeks of surveying, brush axing, tree felling, dynamiting and log winching, we college men [the only ones in the barracks], were ‘promoted’ to office jobs.”

As camp clerk I worked for Leland Brenneman, Howard and Verda Kauffman and Arnold Dietzel. Since Powellsville [sic] was in transition from Quaker to Mennonite auspices, I became good friends with Quakers and learned to appreciate the diversity afforded by the Amish, Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and the various kinds of Mennonites.

I recall all of us once debated whether to be emergency bean pickers on a nearby farm as a part of our national service. Some picked and some did not. It was good training in ethical choice at the grass roots. The camp experience at this stage in my life was what I needed: significant work, gospel quarteting, spare-time night duty at a Salisbury hospital emergency room, basketball, “bull sessions” and some serious Bible reading. Also, I soon learned that an anonymous donor at College Mennonite Church had included me in its support funds for men in CPS. This to me was a highly valued gesture. (“Detour . . . Main Highway”: Our CPS Stories pp. 14-15)

Powellville community leaders, at the time the camp was opening, learned that the men from Patapsco included a black CO, and warned CPS officials not to transfer the man. The rest of the men told the American Friends Service Committee that they would not go to Powellville on those conditions. At the request of the black CO, the AFSC transferred him to a detached service training school unit Cheltenham, Maryland before the camp made the move. (Goossen p. 40).

Orientation programs for the base camps evolved over the years. Interestingly in the first year of Pokomoke, camp leadership instituted an extensive safety education program followed up with a bi-weekly safety newssheet called The Poco-Note.

In 1944, when the Mennonites began operating the camp with a new group of men, they instituted a three-phase orientation program. The first consisted of three days covering information on camp procedures and discussions about the camp. The second, a five-day training period the last week of the first month in camp, delved into issues about which the men now had some experience. The third and final part included weekly discussion periods for three months.

During April 1943, a group of CPS men acting independently of the religious agencies and against the express prohibition of Selective Service called a Chicago Conference on Social Action. Planners intended to provide opportunity for men to exchange views about and consider action regarding their common problems in areas of the nature of CPS work, opportunities for greater service, training programs and what COs should do about conscription, as examples. General Hershey directed all camp directors to “grant no furloughs” for assignees to attend, as Selective Service had not approved the conference in advance.

At Powellville, sixty-seven of the seventy-two men pledged individual non-compliance with the order as a denial of civil liberties. High level meetings between the religious agencies and Selective Service officials failed to remove General Hershey’s ban. The conference went forward with very small attendance, and those who attended were given a customary three-day furlough penalty for each day A.W.O.L. Neither CPS men nor many of the Historic Peace Church leaders were happy with the outcome. However, the incident and the aftermath demonstrated the restrictions under which COs labored in Selective Service, and the limits to civil liberties in protests of conscience.

Naomi Brubaker organized a cooking school at the camp in 1946. These schools scheduled for a few weeks, included instruction and apprentice work in the various areas of camp food planning, preparation and management. Participants came from other camps as well.

Mennonite Central Committee began assigning pastors to the base camps to assist with religious life near the end of CPS. At Pokomoke, Harry Shelter served as the camp pastor for a time and T. A. van der Smissen came from CPS Camp No. 31 at Camino, California on January 1, 1947.

During 1945, MCC held a series of short institutes at regional camps. The first conscription institute at Powellville, on February 24-25, 1945, attracted fifty-five CPS and MCC delegates to explore “the Christian attitude” toward conscription in peacetime as well as during war. In addition, during the institute, participants reflected on the CPS experience and planned follow-up discussions for local camps and units. The presenting group at Powellville included J. Winfield Fretz, Irvin Horst, H. S. Bender, Orie O. Miller, Albert Gaeddert, Robert Kreider, Elmer Ediger and others who had been involved in the early development of the CPS program.

During the period that the Friends operated the camp, the men created a number of publications. They began The Peacemaker in December 1942, with Vol. 2. No. 20 archived in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. They published Social Action News from May through August of 1943. The Socialist C. O. began publication in early 1943 and continued to publish periodically through May of 1945. From July through December 1943, the men cooperatively published The Open Ballot with CPS Camp No. 108 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They produced Powellsville News and Comment from February through June of 1943. Co’ok’s Tours, actually published in CPS Camp No. 2 at San Dimas, California, appeared in September 1943, attributed to the Powellville men. From September 1943 through April 1944, the men published five issues of Pokomoke Opinion. And, they produced School of Industrial Relations Bulletin, June through November in 1944.

After the new group of men arrived in November 1944, they published a camp paper The Dove-Tale from February 1945 through September 1946.

Of all the National Service Board for Religious Objectors base camps, only Powellville remained at the time CPS concluded.

For more information on this and other MCC soil conservation camps see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 1949, Chapter X, pp. 108-124 Religious Life in CPS Chapter XVIII pp. 276-294 Formal Education in CPS Chapter XIX, pp. 295-317.

For more information on women COs see Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-47. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

For personal stories of CPS men, see Peace Committee and Seniors for Peace Coordinating Committee of the College Mennonite Church of Goshen, Indiana, “Detour . . . Main Highway”: Our CPS Stories. Nappanee, IN: Evangel Press, 1995, 2000.

For an in depth history of conscientious objection in the United States, see Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Ithaca, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952, including a description of other CPS camp institutes on peace studies pp. 191-92 Chapter XII, Protests of Conscience pp. 257-278.

Watch the video: Oral History Interview with Igal Roodenko, participant in 1947 Journey of Reconciliation (July 2022).


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