Chicago 7 – 1968 – in 1970 – The Chicago Seven found innocent – repost


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Chicago Seven

Chicago Seven, group of political activists who were arrested for their antiwar activities during the August 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. A series of riots occurred during the convention, and eight protest leaders—Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, cofounders of the Youth International Party (Yippies); Tom Hayden, cofounder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); Black Panther Chairman Bobby Seale, the only African American of the group; David Dellinger and Rennie Davis of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE); and John Froines and Lee Weiner, who were alleged to have made stink bombs—were tried on charges of criminal conspiracy and incitement to riot.

Numerous antiwar and anti-establishment groups had converged in Chicago for the convention to protest U.S. participation in the Vietnam War as well as other government policies. The groups participating included SDS, the Yippies, the Black Panthers, and MOBE. Rioting and violence erupted sporadically between August 25 and August 29 as Chicago police, armed with tear gas and billy clubs, tried to enforce 11 pm curfews in the city’s parks (where many of the young protesters planned to camp out) and faced down protesters marching in the streets. Hundreds were arrested, including the “Chicago Eight” (soon to be Seven).

The trial took place in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and lasted five months, from September 24, 1969, to February 18, 1970. From the beginning, many observers found Judge Julius Hoffman to be far short of impartial toward the defendants. Hoffman, for example, rejected many of the pretrial motions of the defense counsel but granted those made by the prosecution. Similarly, during the trial his procedural rulings nearly always favoured the prosecution. Despite the judge’s hostility, Hayden hoped to win the trial by observing courtroom decorum and logically refuting the prosecution’s case. Many of the other defendants, however, especially Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, deliberately disrupted the trial by eating jelly beans, making faces, blowing kisses, wearing outlandish clothing, and cracking jokes. At one point, Judge Hoffman had Seale bound and gagged for allegedly calling the judge a “fascist dog,” a “pig,” and a “racist.” Seale was eventually tried alone and sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court.

At the trial’s conclusion a jury of 10 whites and two African Americans acquitted all seven remaining defendants—the so-called “Chicago Seven”—of the conspiracy charges. However, they found Hoffman, Rubin, Dellinger, Davis, and Hayden guilty of crossing state boundaries with the intent to incite a riot. Froines and Weiner were acquitted of all charges. Judge Hoffman sentenced the other five defendants to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and he sentenced all seven defendants, plus their attorney William Kunstler, to prison terms for contempt of court. The contempt convictions were reversed on appeal in 1972, and, in a separate appeal that same year, all the criminal convictions except Seale’s were also overturned. The appellate court cited, in part, the judge’s “deprecatory and often antagonistic attitude toward the defense.”

After the success of their appeal, the Chicago Seven went their separate ways. Hayden became active in California politics. Abbie Hoffman went into hiding during the 1970s to avoid prison on a cocaine charge; he eventually emerged in 1980 and served a year. Rubin became a businessman and worked on Wall Street in the 1980s. Dellinger, the oldest of the Chicago Seven—at age 54 in 1968—continued his work as a peace activist. Davis became a public speaker on motivation and self-awareness, Froines taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Weiner remained an activist, primarily on behalf of Jewish causes. The eighth defendant, Seale, became a writer and lecturer and continued to work against racism.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Jeff Wallenfeldt, Manager, Geography and History.

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1970 – The Chicago Seven defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.

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history… February 18


1564 – The artist Michelanglelo died in Rome.

1685 – Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, and thus formed the basis for France’s claim to Texas.

1735 – The first opera performed in America. The work was “Flora” (or “Hob in the Well”) and was presented in Charleston, SC.

1841 – The first continuous filibuster in the U.S. Senate began. It lasted until March 11th.

1861 – In Montgomery, AL, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the President of the Confederate States.

1885 – Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time.

1913 – The famous French painting “Nude Descending a Staircase”, by the French artist, Marcel Duchamp, was displayed at an “Armory Show” in New York City.

1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane.

1930 – The planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh. The discovery was made as a result of photographs taken in January 1930.

1932 – Sonja Henie won her 6th world women’s figure skating title in Montreal, Canada.

1949 – “Yours Truly Johnny Dollar” debuted on CBS radio.

1952 – Greece and Turkey became members of NATO.

1953 – “Bwana Devil” opened. It was the first three-dimensional feature.

1953 – Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz signed a contract worth $8,000,000 to continue the “I Love Lucy” TV show through 1955.

1964 – “Any Wednesday” opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The play established Gene Hackman as an actor.

1970 – The Chicago Seven defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention.

1972 – The California Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty.

1977 – The space shuttle Enterprise went on its maiden “flight” sitting on top of a Boeing 747.

1984 – Reed Larson (Detroit Red Wings) got two assists to become the highest scoring, American-born player in the history of the National Hockey League. Larson broke the record by scoring his 432nd point.

1987 – The executives of the Girl Scout movement decided to change the color of the scout uniform from the traditional Girl Scout green to the newer Girl Scout blue.

1998 – In Russia, money shortages resulted in the shutting down of three plants that produced nuclear weapons.

1998 – In Nevada, two white separatists were arrested and accused of plotting a bacterial attack on subways in New York City.

2000 – The U.S. Commerce Department reported a deficit in trade goods and services of $271.3 billion for 1999. It was the largest calender-year trade gap in U.S. history.

2001 – NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr., was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 race.

2001 – FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested and accused of spying for Russia for more than 15 years. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

2003 – In South Korea, at least 120 people were killed when a man lit a fire on a subway train.

2006 – American Shani Davis won the men’s 1,000-meter speedskating in Turin. He was the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history.

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