The events leading up to the 1968 DNC and ensuing Chicago Conspiracy Trial.
Created by itvs on Aug 6, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 08:30 PM
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Richard Nixon is re-elected president, beating Democratic candidate George McGovern in a landslide victory.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the Anti-Riot convictions of Hoffman, Rubin, Dellinger, Hayden and Davis.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the contempt convictions of the Chicago Seven and their two defense attorneys.
Nixon authorizes the mining of all North Vietnamese port cities without Congress’s permission.
President Nixon resumes mass bombing in Vietnam, including the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, reinvigorating anti-war demonstrations.
Judge Hoffman orders that Bobby Seale be gagged and bound to his chair due to his vocal outbursts. He sentences Seale to four years in jail for contempt and removes his case from that of the Chicago Eight.
The trial of the Chicago Eight opens before Judge Julius Hoffman to wide media coverage.
A grand jury indicts eight civilians for their involvement in protest-based violence during the convention. David Dellinger, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, John Froines and Lee Weiner become known as the Chicago Eight. They are charged with traveling across state lines with the intention to riot under the 1968 Anti-Riot Act.
Richard Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election by a narrow margin. Humphrey’s loss is viewed as a result of the riots and the debates that occurred at the Chicago convention.
On the final day of the convention, protesters are turned away from the convention center twice. Chicago police arrest 589 people during the convention week, with more than 200 protester and police injuries. A government study will later rule that the violence was mostly the fault of the police, but Mayor Daley rejects this finding and gives city police a raise.
Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson’s vice president, is chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate after days of acrimonious debates and increasing hostility between the pro- and anti-war wings of the Democratic party. Delegates from the party’s “peace plank” sing “We Shall Overcome” in protest of Johnson and Humphrey. This factionalism is captured on national television. Nearly 15,000 demonstrators gather in Grant Park, across from the Hilton, for speeches. David Dellinger and others lead a march to the Amphitheatre convention site, which is halted by police. Protesters as well as bystanders are attacked physically and with tear gas. Known as “the Battle of Michigan Avenue,” this clash is one of the week’s most severe, and the televised footage shocks the country.
Black Panther Party founder Bobby Seale delivers a speech to about 2,000 attendees in Lincoln Park, while 4,000 people attend a rally at the Chicago Coliseum where Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman, the MOBE chairman David Dellinger and author William Burroughs are among the speakers. Poet Allen Ginsberg holds a service that includes chanting and meditation. Violence erupts after curfew; police beat protesters in Lincoln Park, many of whom fight back and smash windows along nearby streets.
On the first day of the convention, tens of thousands protesters descend on the city, united in their desire to end the Vietnam War and spark change in the Democratic Party. Over the next few days, these demonstrators would collide with the thousands of city police, Illinois National Guardsmen, Secret Service agents and U.S. Army members in Chicago. Three thousand demonstrators meet in Lincoln Park; those that stay after curfew are again tear-gassed and beaten by police. Tom Hayden is arrested for deflating the tires of a police car.
On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, "festival of life" attendees who ignore the 11 p.m. curfew are clubbed and gassed by police. Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis conduct a protest march to the Conrad Hilton Hotel, the convention’s headquarters. Protesters, as well as members of the press, clash with police further.
Three days before the convention, the Chicago police stress the city’s 11 p.m. curfew. In Lincoln Park, protesters hold workshops on self-defense and snake dancing.
Chicago Deputy Mayor David Stahl expresses his reluctance to grant the Yippies a permit for its festival attendees to sleep in city parks.
After winning the crucial California primary, Robert Kennedy is shot and killed in Los Angeles.
Congress passes the Anti-Riot Act of 1968, which makes it illegal to cross state lines with the intent to organize or incite a riot.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. Riots occur in more than 100 cities, including Chicago, where Mayor Richard Daley gives police a “shoot to kill” directive.
In New York City, student protests rage at Columbia University.
With his popularity plummeting and criticism of the war rising, President Johnson announces that he will not seek re-election in November. Potential Democratic anti-war candidates include Senators Robert Kennedy, George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy.
The MOBE, a coalition of peace activists, meets to plan large-scale, anti-war demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention. The Yippies apply for a demonstration permit from the Chicago Parks Department.
American troops kill more than 300 innocent civilians in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
In what becomes known as the Orangeburg Massacre, state troopers shoot at protesters calling for racial integration at a bowling alley near South Carolina State University, killing three black students and wounding 27 others.
The North Vietnamese commence the Tet Offensive against U.S. targets. There are 550,000 American troops in Vietnam. More than 30,000 Americans have been killed in the war so far.
A group of anti-war activists meet at Abbie Hoffman’s New York City apartment and decide to stage a “festival of life,” with live music and information on draft alternatives, to counter the 1968 National Democratic Convention “of death.” The group names itself the Yippies to symbolize the coming together of political activists and psychedelic hippies.
At the March on the Pentagon, the Yippies attempt to exorcise the Pentagon. Jerry Rubin calls this a turning point for Yippie politics.
The anti-war movement steps up its activity as the Vietnam War escalates and President Lyndon Johnson eradicates undergraduate student deferment from the military, effectively reinstating the draft.
In response to the bombing of North Vietnam, the first major teach-in, a non-violent protest organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Michigan, launches a mass antiwar movement.