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Tom Hayden
Tom Hayden

TOM HAYDEN

1939 -

During the '60s, Hayden was a leading activist in student, civil rights and anti-war movements, and one of the Chicago Seven. Hayden continues to work for social reforms through California politics, holding several elected offices beginning in 1982.

On Robert Kennedy's 1968 Presidential bid:

"Again, it's one of those stories in which we project our own fantasies and our own hopes. But I thought that, because of his brother's assassination and because of the war, that the 'offbeat' or 'rebel' side of him had sort of matured and evolved, and that he was really about radical change from within the system, rather than token change within the system.

"And I think if he had survived, that he probably would have found a way, with his ties to the Daley Machine and the traditional Democrats, to secure the nomination. And since the 1968 election was settled by about 1 percentage point, I think that he had certainly a better chance than Hubert Humphrey of capturing the Presidency.

"Now, think about that.

"Or if Dr. King had lived.

"The whole nature of world history and American history, but also our personal biographies, our lives, would have been so fundamentally different.

"The Vietnam War would have ended in 1969. There would have been no Chicago riots or demonstrations…you can just go on and on.

"I think [journalist] Jack Newfield said it best when he said, 'After that, we became a generation of might-have-beens.'"

Excerpted from a 1997 interview for "The Sixties".

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