Bill Henry: ‘Whalerider’

Bill Henry, born in Wisconsin and having already served time as a conscientious objector before heading to New York City. There he met with Bradford Lyttle and became part of the historic Center for Nonviolent Action which launched the Polaris Action, walking from the UN to the Electric Boat Company in New London, CT with a sustained leafletting and direct action campaign to workers and others involved in putting nuclear missiles into Polaris submarines for the first time ever.

Listen to him tell his story himself in this video interview covering various parts of Bill’s early story and actions.

In one primary event on November 22 1960, where they had already been arrested and released without formal charges repeatedly, this time they decided to bring charges against Bill and Don Martin who also managed to actually board and mount the submarine. This time, rather than a quiet affair where some odd compassionate peaceful warriors strolled in as trespassers and left with handcuffs removed, charges were applied with two one year sentences to be served concurrently. The judge even offered to drop the charges if Bill would only agree not to climb on any more military equipment. Bill politely refused.

While Bradford and others then took part in an actual Peace March from San Francisco to Moscow in 1961, protesting at military bases and meeting with both JFK & Kruschev’s people, Bill served out his sentence in Danbury Prison in Connecticut. After many years as a ‘pantechnicon’ (furniture mover) in NYC he and others formed a collective endeavour named Satya Graha in Pine Plains, NY.