Philip M. Mullins

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Phil Mullins was born in 1945, the second son of a US Coast Guard Petty Officer. He moved with his parents every three years to six years, alternating between Mobile or Pensacola and Hawaii or Guam. He attended Pensacola Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of Florida where he enrolled in the College of Engineering. In the summer of 1965 he attended the US Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) Summer Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he learned from his platoon's sergeants of the US Army’s misconduct in its Vietnam operations. He began to reevaluate his childhood dream to become an officer in the US Army and then to serve in the US Foreign Service. At the University of Florida he joined a campus civil rights organization and began attending religious services at Hillel House as he examined more closely his white, Southern Baptist roots.

In the fall of 1966 he transferred to Florida State University in Tallahassee where his older brother, George, was attending school. He and two or three other students attempted to start a campus chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) but their application was turned down. Instead he, Marty Bunyan, Lillian Mordes and Edna Stein joined a campus group called the Young Liberals that attracted students who were interested in the civil rights movement. That year the Negro community of Tallahassee staged a brief boycott of the public school system to demand equal funding for what was then a segregated school system. The Young Liberals volunteered to recruit FSU students to teach in “Freedom Schools” during the boycott. They set up tables near Landis Green and dozens of FSU students signed up to serve as teachers. The Young Liberals became the liaison between the black community and the FSU student body and found themselves involved in everything from interviewing candidates for city and county elected office to assisting university workers in a union organizing drive.

The following year Phil affiliated the Young Liberals with the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC) as a campus chapter and the focus of the organization shifted toward the war in Vietnam. In February 1967 the Young Liberals sponsored a weeklong series of vigils and speeches designed to “bring the peace movement to Tallahassee”. He wrote an occasional article for the campus “Flambeau” newspaper advocating resistance to the war in Vietnam. In the fall of 1967 he founded an anti-draft union and openly advocated resistance to the US military draft.

After unsuccessfully applying for status as a conscientious objector to War, Phil returned his draft cards to his Local Board in Pensacola in October 1967 and refused to apply for a student deferment. He announced that he would refuse induction into the US military as a combatant but would serve in a non-combatant position. In March 1968 Selective Service System Local Board No. 49 in Pensacola declared him I-A and Delinquent. In June a warrant was issued for his arrest and in September he was indicted for failure to report for induction into the US military. See The FBI file on Philip Mullins.

Phil graduated from FSU in December 1967, joined the staff of the Southern Student Organizing Committee in January 1968 and was assigned to work in Florida. In February he was arrested for trespass on the campus of the University of Florida during an anti-war demonstration and sentenced to three days in jail. While he was in jail, he missed his appointment to be inducted into the US military. Also while in jail, he read the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme’s Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada. Both he and his cellmate (Steven Jones) left for Canada a month later.

He moved into a Toronto Anti-Draft Programme’s (TADP) hostel at 127 John Street in Toronto. There he met Jimmy and Pat Wilson, Colleen and Bruce Anderson and Dave Woodward and other American exiles. In August these six people rented the house at 224 McCaul Street and in September opened the Yellow Ford Truck community store. In April 1969 Phil and Mary Rauton helped open the Ragnarokr Leather shop at 11 Baldwin Street. The following month he, Mary and Randy Rauton and Steve Spring were all working in the leather shop. He continued to work in the leather shop until June 1980 when he left Toronto and moved to Texas. He returned to Toronto in January 1985, helped the leather shop move to its second location on Queen Street and then left again for Texas in July 1987. He continues to live in Austin, Texas where he is employed in the power plant of the University of Texas at Austin.

In January 1979 Phil was interviewed as part of the Ontario Multi-Cultural Historical Society American oral history project. The transcript of that interview is linked this work. See Transcript of interview with Philip Mullins.

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