A Quaker Action Group

From Academic Kids

A Quaker Action Group was founded in Philadelphia during the summer of 1966 to "apply nonviolent direct action as a witness against the war in Vietnam".

Founding member Lawrence Scott was a Quaker and radical pacifist who had worked for the American Friends Service Committee in the 1950s, but resigned in protest at what he saw as the AFSC's preference for words over action. AQAG, which was based in the peace committees of the Religious Society of Friends' New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings, aimed to renew the Society of Friends commitment to its historic peace testimony.

In 1966, AQAG attempted to mail relief packages to North Vietnam, only to have the US Postal Service refuse the delivery. When they collected money for the North and South Vietnamese Red Cross Societies, the Treasury seized the donated funds.

In March 1967, members of AQAG sailed to North Vietnam in the yacht Phoenix, carrying medical supplies for North Vietnamese wounded by American bombing. The protest generated wide media coverage.

In the early seventies, AQAG, having abandoned its goal of transforming the Society of Friends, evolved into the Movement for a New Society, a self-styled "transformational network" which would play key role in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s.

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