Failure to Appear: Resistance, Loss and Identity

With Emily Quint Freeman

Join us for a virtual conversation with Emily Quint Freeman about her resistance against the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

In May 1969, Freeman was an anti-war pacifist working in Chicago as a draft counselor for a Quaker social action committee. She and a group of fellow activists broke into a Southside Chicago draft board, dragged 40,000 draft records out into the parking lot, and set them ablaze. Her federal trial began in May 1970, only a few days after four Kent State protestors had been killed by the National Guard. During her trial, the jury was not permitted to hear any testimony about the defendants’ ideals or motivation and it became clear that the judge was seeking unprecedentedly long sentences. So a few days before the trial ended she fled with her friend and co-defendant, a radical Catholic priest.

In Failure to Appear, Freeman recounts her precarious life as a fugitive for almost two decades, her struggle to find her true identity amid the lies she told about herself, the pain and confusion of being “hidden in a closet within a closet,” and how she finally found a way back out of both closets with her values intact.