The 40th anniversary next week of the Philadelphia 11 — the first women ordained as Episcopal priests — has us remembering some other prominent news stories about groups of people reduced in headlines to a number.
In the days when print newspapers relied more on picas than on pixels, headlines had finite limits. Journalists needed shorthand techniques of referring to complicated issues that would unfold in greater detail in their stories.
But even now with the limitless canvas of the Internet, we still love our shorthand. Here are six such abbreviations from the Philly region you (or your parents) might remember:
The Camden 28
Twenty-eight Vietnam War protesters plotted and carried out a raid in 1971 on the Camden, N.J., draft board, ransacking the office and destroying files of draft registrants to prevent them from being sent off to war.
During the raid, they were arrested by the FBI, who had been following their progress with the help of an informant in the group. (The informant later testified exclusively for the defense, after the FBI broke a promise to him that his friends would see no jail time.)
The case went to trial in 1973, and they were acquitted. The trial was widely seen as a referendum on the Vietnam War and a window into widespread negative opinion about the war.
A statement from the group directly before their trial:
We are twenty-eight men and women who, together with other resisters across the country, are trying with our lives to say “no” to the madness we see perpetrated by our government in the name of the American people – the madness of our Vietnam policy, of the arms race, of our neglected cities and inhuman prisons. We do not believe that it is criminal to destroy pieces of paper which are used to bind men to involuntary servitude, which train these men to kill, and which send them to possibility die in an unjust, immoral, and illegal war. We stand for life and freedom and the building of communities of true friendship. We will continue to speak out and act for peace and justice, knowing that our spirit of resistance cannot be jailed or broken.
In 2007, PBS broadcast a documentary about the trial, called “The Camden 28.”
The Fort Dix 5
In 2007 a group of six Muslim men were accused (and in 2008, convicted) of conspiring to attack U.S. Military personnel stationed at Fort Dix, N.J. The alleged goal of the group was to “kill as many soldiers as possible.”
Four received life sentences, while one got 33 years in prison. A sixth conspirator, who played a minor role and who reportedly resisted the plot, was sentenced to five years in prison for weapons offenses.
Supporters of the convicted men believe they were victims of entrapment. Three of the men, brothers, are appealing.
The Plowshares 8
In 1980, eight activists protesting the use of nuclear weapons broke into the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where they damaged nuclear warhead nose cones with hammers, poured their own blood on documents and order forms, and prayed for disarmament and peace.
They were arrested on more than 10 felony and misdemeanor counts, stood trial and went to prison. Their trial was re-created immediately before their sentencing in a direct-to-video film, “In the King of Prussia,” starring Martin Sheen as the judge. The members of the Plowshares 8 played themselves. After recording was complete, they reported to court for their imprisonment.
The entire movie can be found online. Here’s a scene:
The “Orange is the New Black” character Sister Jane Ingalls has been shown participating in activism strikingly similar to that of the Plowshares Movement.
The SEPTA 48
A group of 48 SEPTA employees hit a $107.5 million Powerball jackpot in 2012. The group pooled their money to buy a group of lottery tickets from the newsstand at The Gallery shopping center in Center City, Philadelphia, and they agreed to split the winnings.
Each winner stood to receive $2.2 million before taxes and, at the time, all said they intended to keep working at SEPTA.
Their numbers were 4, 25, 29, 34 and 43, with a Powerball of 29.
The Philadelphia 10
The Philadelphia 10 were a group of American female artists, all painters, in the early 20th century who banded together to put on group shows of each other’s work and to share studio space.
Also known as The Ten, the women exhibited annually together from 1917 to 1945 — initially in Philadelphia and later throughout the East Coast and the Midwest.
The first exhibition featured the work of 11 artists, all of whom attended art school in Philadelphia — nine at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design) and two from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In 1998, the Moore College of Art and Design created a retrospective of the Philadelphia 10 that traveled to museums throughout the country.