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Speaking of Vietnam War protests

By coincidence, coming on the heels of my post on the Camden 28 is news that 483 courtroom sketches from the 1969-70 Chicago Seven conspiracy trial have been acquired by the Chicago History Museum. (HT to BoingBoing.) The sketches, by Franklin McMahon, will eventually go on display at the museum. The Chicago Tribune also has a short photo gallery of some of the sketches.

For those who may not recall, here’s the Tribune‘s “history lesson” of the trial:

The defendants: Seven people, including yippies Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were charged with conspiring to incite a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The theater: Among the witnesses were Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Norman Mailer, Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins and Jesse Jackson.

The outcome: In 1972 an appeals court threw out the convictions, citing the behavior of the judge, among other reasons.

The police riot and other events at the 1968 Democratic Convention and the ensuing Chicago 7 trial were key factors in radicalizing me. In 1975 I also picked up Tales of Hoffman, a now out-of-print paperback consisting solely of excerpts from the trial transcript. While certainly slanted, the book made clear just how much “personal bile” influenced the actions of trial judge Julius Hoffman. That Hoffman did as much, if not more than, Abbie Hoffman and his co-defendants to make a mockery of the justice system.  My copy disappeared somewhere over the years but I found another one about six years ago and bought it immediately.

While it’s great these sketches are going to be on display, it does bother me a bit that such crucial events in my life are museum pieces. Even more bothersome is that the goals of the late 60s-early 70s “revolution” either were not accomplished or have been abandoned by too many. As it was, it evidently shall always be.


Julius, you radicalized more young people than we ever could.

Jerry Rubin to Judge Julius Hoffman at sentencing

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