The Camden 28

PBS Premiere: Sept. 11, 2007Check the broadcast schedule »

Excerpt: From the Trial of the Camden 28

Elizabeth Good, April 30, 1978

Life at Home

(Jury Present.)

MR. BOB GOOD: Camden 28 would like to call my mother.

ELIZABETH HILDEN GOOD, having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

(Member of the Camden 28)

Q. Hi.

A. This is a switch.

Q. Tell the court what kind of family and religious tradition we were raised in?

A. Yes, I think I can do that. Bob, you came from a family that -- at least, we tried our best to bring you up according to the Gospels, to have our children stand on their own two feet, to have the courage of their convictions.

We're rather a large family. You were the eighth of 10 children.

We lived out on a farm. We have five acres and it was a nice life.

Q. Do you remember when I brought up for the first time, I was talking to you and Dad, that I was going to apply for conscientious objector status? Then we had conversations.

A. Yes, I do, Bob, because it kind of shook us up. Every argument that you brought up was really bringing -- handing it right back to me -- the way we had brought you up, the love of God, the love of your fellow man, no violence.

You just threw it right back in my own face, stood on your two feet, had the courage of your convictions, lived according to your conscience.

So as time went on I began to see a little bit where if we middle-class Americans would just stop looking at you young people and the way you look, and would see you and hear you and what you had to say, that you really were a group of beautiful people that had your right to your own conscience.

We had your oldest brother who was in the Reserves. I had three brothers who served in the Second World War, one of whom was injured. It was just something, I guess, that we had to kind of learn from our more younger family, from our younger people.

Q. Can you also recall conversations the three of us had, say, from the time that I kind of shocked you again by quitting school and sort of doing different things until, say, the time that I was arrested here in Camden?

Various times I came home and [we] had conversations about what I was going through.

A. Yes. Again, this was awfully hard for us to accept at the time; my husband and I neither had a college education. We thought this was really great, the boys could go to college, we had it planned for you, how you were to live in our idea.

So when this happened, we had a lot of discussions. It was very hard for us to accept this new thing that so many of the young people were into. But, again, it was back to the same old story of your right to decide yourself.

I think little by little you made us see where we just weren't always right, that we were so much involved in making a living and the main thing was paying off your home, and we didn't think enough about what was going on outside of our world.

We had a very provincial existence. I can remember one time we were in Cleveland and you called home long distance and you wanted to know how to make stuffed peppers.

What in the world you want to make stuffed peppers for?

"It is my turn to cook tonight and we're taking in quite a few alcoholics. Please give me the recipe for about 15 people."

This was the kind of thing that you got into with us, and when you came home you would tell us how you had never known there were things like that that existed in the inner city, such as children having no place to play when you had all this ground out in the country to play.

We tried to understand just what was going on with you, although we had -- it took a long time, let me say that. It took really a long time to accept it.

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