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Gren Whitman: They Were Not Going to Stop Me!

Gren Whitman was brought up in small-town New England. When he was sent to the segregated South for military training in the early 1960s, he was shocked by how African Americans were treated outside the military base. He participated in civil rights actions during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964 and protested the Vietnam War in the 1970s. Whitman assumed he was under surveillance but he was shocked by the extent of it when he received his FBI files through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request years later. The government had begun watching him as early as 1965, after he returned his draft card to protest U.S. policies in the Dominican Republic.

My Story

Start of Surveillance. I was discharged from the Army in 1962 ... (0:52)
The Police Spies. In Baltimore, we operated what was called The Peace Action Center ... (1:00)
My FBI Surveillance File. I was surprised at the extent of what they had gone through ... (0:52)


Anti-war. Protesting against any of the foreign policies of a U.S. administration, especially a President's decision to go to war, has often been viewed as a threat by that administration. The experiences of Will Bergfeld, Gren Whitman, Peggy Hutchison, Bridget Colvin, George Main and Eric Shaw connect and contrast this situation across time.