The Chicago 10
Originally eight protester/defendants were indicted by the grand jury at the Chicago Conspiracy Trial.
After Judge Julius Hoffman ordered that Black Panther leader Bobby Seale be bound and gagged for his outbursts, Seale was removed from the case and sentenced to four years in prison for contempt. After a mistrial and a new trial, the seven remaining defendants, along with defense attorneys Leonard Weinglass and William Kunstler were charged for contempt of court.
CHICAGO 10 filmmaker Brett Morgen chose to credit not only the defendants, but the defense attorneys, as well. He paraphrases defendant Jerry Rubin: “‘Anyone who calls us the Chicago Seven is a racist, because you're discrediting Bobby Seale. You can call us the Chicago Eight, but really we're the Chicago 10, because our two lawyers went down with us.’” Morgen took that as an opportunity “ to appropriate the story, re-brand the story.”
Meet the members of the Chicago 10:
David Dellinger attended Oxford and Yale Universities and was studying theology at Union Theological Seminary when he was drafted to fight in World War II. Although he was entitled to deferment as a conscientious objector, he served three years in prison for refusing to register for military service. Dellinger protested the Korean War and the Bay of Pigs Invasion and participated in hunger strikes and freedom marches for civil rights before becoming chairman of the MOBE (the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam) at the outset of the Vietnam War. A lifelong pacifist and activist, Dellinger passed away in 2004 at the age of 89.
After graduating from Brandeis University and earning an M.A. at UC Berkeley, Abbie Hoffman worked as a psychologist at a state mental hospital in his native Massachusetts. He became radicalized when he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and traveled to the South to join the struggle for civil rights. As the author of Steal This Book and Revolution for the Hell of It, he encapsulated the absurdity and audacity of the Yippies, or the Youth International Party, of which he was a leader. In 1974, Hoffman became a fugitive, surgically altering his appearance and taking on the identity of “Barry Freed” to elude charges of cocaine possession. In 1980 he capitulated and served two years in a work-release program before continuing his activist work. Arrested dozens of times for drug possession as well as dissent, Hoffman died in 1989 in what was later ruled a suicide.
The son of a union activist, Jerry Rubin grew up in Cincinnati and received a college degree in sociology. After spending time in Israel, he headed to California for graduate study and became involved with the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, where he even ran for mayor. In 1965, Rubin founded the Vietnam Day Committee, one of the era’s earliest protest groups, and was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, solidifying his rank as a superstar of the anti-war movement. He explored New Age spirituality before becoming an entrepreneur, businessman, and investor in the 1980’s, eschewing his former Yippie roots for a new Yuppie identity and working on Wall Street. Rubin died in 1994, after being hit by a car while jaywalking in Los Angeles.
Students for a Democratic Society
The son of one of President Truman’s top economic advisors, Rennie Davis graduated from Oberlin College and received an M.A. at the University of Illinois. By 1968, he had risen through the ranks of the SDS, or Students for a Democratic Society, to become national director of community organizing. Based in Chicago, Davis was responsible for planning activities during convention week. After the trial, he became a disciple of Guru Maharaj Ji and a lecturer on meditation and self-awareness. Now, a successful venture capitalist, he is the founder of Ventures for Humanity.
Students for a Democratic Society
Born in Detroit, Tom Hayden attended the University of Michigan, where he was editor of the campus newspaper. As the primary ideologue of the SDS, he wrote “The Port Huron Statement,” which became the mission statement of the anti-war, protest movement. He traveled to North Vietnam many times, often with his then-wife, actress Jane Fonda, to assess the war and America’s involvement in it. Hayden co-founded the Campaign for Economic Democracy, lobbying for solar power and environmental protection. In the mid-1970s he entered California politics, and has served in both the State Assembly and Senate. He is the author of 13 books.
Black Panther Party
Born in Texas and the son of a carpenter, Bobby Seale worked as a mechanic, comedian, and drummer before becoming an activist. The co-founder of the Black Panther Party with Huey Newton, Seale came to Chicago as a last-minute substitute for Eldridge Cleaver and only stayed in the city for 48 hours in order to give a speech urging demonstrators to fight back if attacked by the police. To authorities, this speech constituted an “incite to riot.” During the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, he demanded the right to represent himself as his own attorney was recuperating from surgery and Judge Hoffman refused to grant a continuance. While serving a sentence for 16 counts of contempt of court, Seale wrote Seize the Time, a definitive history of the Black Panthers. He continues to work for social change from his home in Oakland, CA.
A graduate of UC Berkeley, John Froines became involved with the SDS while studying for a Ph.D. specializing in industrial hygiene and toxicology at Yale, where he had also been head of Students for Lyndon Johnson. After the Chicago trial, he worked for the Carter administration as OSHA’s director of toxic substances and later joined the faculty of the School of Public Health at UCLA. In addition to conspiracy, Froines' and Lee Weiner’s alleged crime was the making of incendiary devices: a.k.a. stink bombs.
In 1968, Lee Weiner was a teaching assistant in sociology at Northwestern University and lived in an apartment on Chicago’s South Side. He has continued to protest and he works for causes ranging from the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith to funding for AIDS research. Along with John Froines, Weiner was later acquitted of his charges.
A New York City native, William Kunstler attended Yale University and Columbia Law School and enlisted in the U.S. Army at the outbreak of World War II, earning the rank of major. His legal practice was devoted primarily to civil liberties law and his clients included Martin Luther King, Jr., Jack Ruby, Malcolm X, Lenny Bruce, Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown as well as leaders of the American Indian movement. He headed the ACLU and co-founded the Center for Constitutional Rights. He died in 1995 at the age of 76.
As William Kunstler’s younger partner, Leonard Weinglass was considered the workhorse of the defense team. Since the Chicago trial he has worked on a number of political cases, including the Pentagon Papers trial and the Angela Davis case. Wineglass represented Jane Fonda in a suit against Richard Nixon, Kathy Boudin of the Weather Underground, Amy Carter for charges of seizing a building at the University of Massachusetts in protest over CIA recruitment and the Cuban Five after they were charged with infiltrating terrorist networks in Florida. A Yale Law School graduate and former U.S. Air Force captain, Weinglass continues to practice law and is based in New York.