Twin Cities Draft Information Center,
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Twin Cities Draft Information Center
|Address:||1905 3rd Avenue S|
|Hennepin County, Minnesota|
|Current Function:||Market, Art Gallery|
|Other Current Function:||Market, Art Gallery|
A center for counseling conscripted men in Minnesota on avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War. The center also maintained a focus on abolishing the draft entirely and anti-war activism.
This building was home to the Twin Cities Draft Information Center, an organization with the goal of abolishing the draft during the Vietnam War.
After it opened in September 1967, the center counseled men on draft avoidance techniques, alternatives to conscription and offered referrals to doctors and lawyers. Techniques included everything from conscientious objection, lack of cooperation with and Canadian immigration. The Draft Information Center was also involved in anti-war protests and demonstrations, including distributing leaflet at induction centers and encouraging local men to seek draft alternatives.
In early 1968, the Center was staffed by three full-time workers in their early 20s, Alexander Wilkinson, David Gutnknecht and Tom Smit, who all had turned in their draft cards. According to Gutknecht in Jan. 1968, 20 or so people visited the office every week, not including the number of calls the office received.
By July 1969, the Center's newsletter TDIC News reported the organization was counseling between 5-10 men a week. The organization was also a source for information about local anti-war demonstrations and news on a national level about draft resistance. The center also reported indictments, arrests and court records in Minnesota related to draft resistance and demonstrations.
In 1970, the organization was split in two to create Minnesota Draft Help and Twin Cities Resistance to focus separately on draft counseling and war-resistance efforts. TDIC also expanded to become involved in many related issues to the Vietnam War and the draft, including foreign policy, women's liberation and education.
Local activist and politician of the 1970s and 1980s Brian J. Coyle worked at the Draft Information Center from 1969-1971.
The building is now home to the Third Avenue Food Market and Stevens Square Center for the Arts.
Memories and stories
- Tim Koster remembers challenging his draft induction on the 1968 Exhibit blog. "In late November I got a letter from my draft board in New Jersey. They determined that I hadn’t earned enough college credits after high school and took away my student deferment."
- John "Coco" Mares from Dassel reflects on joining the Army in '68 "I remember walking up to the door of the induction center along with dozens of other new recruits. I remember the hippies protesting the war in front of the door and yelling not to go as they handed out anti-war literature to me."
- Dennis Behling reflects on the draft and enlisting. "I lived in a small town and my dad knew someone on the draft board. They told him my time was coming soon to be drafted into the Army."