Scope and Contents
A Quaker Action Group (AQAG) records in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection include minutes, correspondence (1966-1971), memoranda, financial records, subject files (organizations), research files (topics), project files, newsletters, press releases, statements of Quaker yearly meetings in various cities, clippings, photographs and sound recordings. The files were first processed in 1974, and then again in 1980. In 2004, archival intern, Joe Clark, sorted the papers into the present order, but the processing was not completed by the SCPC archivist until 2006.
Representative organizations are Beheiren (Japan), Fifth Avenue Peace Parade, Poor People's Campaign, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Vietnam Moratorium Committee. In addition to other nonviolent direct actions, the project files highlight the Cuba Project, the Culebra Project (Culebra, Puerto Rico), the Panama Project (Ft. Gulick, Panama Canal Zone) and the Phoenix and Vietnam Projects. Materials relating to the voyages of the Phoenix include correspondence of the crew(s), newsclippings and scrapbooks, still photographs, and 16 mm films, including Voyage of the Phoenix. Research files of AQAG provide information on black liberation, chemical and biological warfare (CBW), draft resistance, human rights, nuclear radiation, the peace movement, and war tax resistance.
AQAG correspondents represented are Elizabeth J. Boardman, John Worth Braxton, Harrison Butterworth, Horace Champney, Jerry D. Coffin, Christopher Cowley, Phillip Drath, Robert Whittington Eaton, Roderick Ede, Ross Flanagan, Nicola Geiger, Walton Geiger, Robert Horton, Donald Kalish, George Lakey, Kenneth Lee, Samuel Legg, Robert E. Levering, Bradford Lyttle, Ivan E. Massar, William R. Mimms, Roger Moody, Beryl Herbert Nelson, Patricia Parkman, Earle L. Reynolds, Lawrence Scott, Lynne Shivers, Glenn E. Smiley, Charles C. Walker, Emlyn Warren, George Willoughby, J. Duncan Wood, and Carl P. Zietlow.
A Quaker Action Group, founded in Philadelphia during the summer of 1966 to “apply nonviolent direct action as a witness against the war in Vietnam,” was an informally organized group which sponsored numerous projects of national and international scope. Cooperating with such existing organizations as the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in confronting “immoral military and political policies” of the government, A Quaker Action Group (AQAG) did not represent any official body of the Society of Friends and accepted as members those non-Quakers who shared their concerns. George Lakey, Lawrence Scott, and George Willoughby were instrumental in the organization and direction of AQAG. Projects undertaken by AQAG included reading the names of the Vietnam war dead on the steps of the Capitol; three voyages of the yacht Phoenix to North and South Vietnam with medical supplies; and protests against chemical and biological warfare. In the summer of 1971, in response to a need for a “multi-dimensional approach to social change,” AQAG was transformed into the Movement for a New Society, with its affiliated Life Center Association.