Although writing can help decipher history, it’s our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Caleb Foote, Law Professor and Pacifist Organizer

Caleb Foote, whose moral sense influenced him to go to prison for refusing to do even noncombatant work in World War II, then led him to become a law professor known for advocacy of criminal rights.


Mr. Foote was born in Cambridge, Mass., on March 26, 1917. He graduated in 1939 fromHarvard, where he was managing editor of The Harvard Crimson, and earned a master's degree in economics in 1941.

The Quaker faith of his mother drew him to pacifism, and he was hired that year by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a pacifist organization, to open its Northern California office. His draft board had denied his request for conscientious objector status in 1940, deciding that his religious argument for the status was based more on humanist principles than on theology.

Mr. Foote then refused an order to report to a camp to perform alternative service, and as a result in 1943 he was convicted for violations of the Selective Service Act.

"Only by my refusal to obey this order can I uphold my belief that evil must be opposed not by violence but by the creation of goodwill throughout the world," Mr. Foote said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He served six months at a federal prison camp, then resumed his work with the fellowship, spending much of his time speaking out against the internment of Japanese-Americans. In 1943, he helped produce a pamphlet on the subject, titled "Outcasts," with the photographer Dorothea Lange.

In 1945, Mr. Foote was again sentenced for draft law violations and served a year at a federal penitentiary. He was pardoned by President Harry S. Truman. From 1948 to 1950, Mr. Foote was executive director of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

excerpt article By DOUGLAS MARTIN, from the New York Times

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Even though I am from Kansas, I enjoy venturing into other worlds from around the globe which is why my writing focuses on diversity. With fluid accessibility to modern media and traveling opportunities, my Midwestern world can expand and explore beyond my own backyard. In addition to studying cultures, I take pleasure in studying history. Submitting to a moment in time allows us to remember, or to muse even, over our society’s past. Although writing can educate as well as entertain, yet what makes art incredibly amazing, to that of paintings, photographs, and music, it transposes emotion into another form of humanity, and therefore, it is our humanity which keeps all of us striving for an improved future.

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