William Sloan Coffin
William Sloan Coffin, a dominant figure in the antiwar movement, was born in New York City on June 1, 1924. He served in the army during World War II and later studied at Yale and the Union Theological Seminary. Between 1950 and 1953, he worked as a Soviet expert for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but left the CIA to finalize his seminary studies at Yale. Coffin was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1956 and in 1958 became chaplain of Yale. A political activist committed to civil rights and antipoverty causes, Coffin also became an early opponent of the Vietnam War. He traveled extensively around the country calling for draft resistance and serving as an officer of the National Emergency Committee of Clergy Concerned About Vietnam. In 1968, Coffin was indicted and convicted for conspiring to assist draft resisters, but the convictions were ultimately overturned and then dropped by the Department of Justice. Coffin left Yale in 1975 to pursue new interests in lecturing and writing.