Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Often Jailed Anti-Nuclear Activist Dead at 74

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Often Jailed Anti-Nuclear Activist Dead at 74

Article excerpt

Samuel H. Day Jr., an award winning reporter, editor and political activist, died Jan. 26 at 74. Day was among the first journalists to report about the full extent of the threat posed by the United States' nuclear arsenal in the late '70s.

Day's many acts of civil disobedience led to multiple jailings and months of imprisonment, even after the age of 68, when he was legally blind and in frail health.

Day served as managing editor of The Progressive in 1979, when the monthly political magazine based in Madison, Wis., was legally enjoined from publishing an article about secrecy in the U.S. nuclear weapons program. The magazine insisted that all the information came from public sources. After six months, the federal government dropped the case, and the article, "The H-Bomb Secret," was published intact.

In 1982, Day reported without qualification that South Africa had secretly built a small quantity of atomic weapons to protect apartheid. Eleven years later, his reporting was confirmed by the South African government.

Through the 1980s, as a director of Nukewatch, a public interest group now based in Luck, Wis., he organized two national programs to raise the visibility of nuclear weapons transportation and deployment.

One program, the "H-Bomb Truck Watch," enabled anti-nuclear activists to track and follow the unmarked convoys that transport nuclear warheads and their ingredients on the nation's highways.

The other Nukewatch program targeted the 1,000 Air Force Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles in unmarked underground launch sites scattered over the Middle West and Great Plains. …

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