The Chicago 7
By 1968, hundreds of organizations actively oppose the Vietnam War. Ideologies range from groups focused on peace, such as the National Mobilization Committee to End War in Vietnam (MOBE), to groups with political roots like the Students for a Democratic Society (or SDS). Most of the Chicago Seven are outspoken leaders from several activist organizations.
Months before the Democratic National Convention, activists meet to coordinate protest efforts by over 100 anti-war groups. (Later, these meetings will be used as evidence for conspiracy charges.) When the Chicago convention begins, demonstrators are met with brutal police actions; 589 are arrested, 219 injured. In March 1969, a grand jury indicts eight activists on charges related to the violence in Chicago. One of the cases is dropped, and the defendants become known as the Chicago Seven.
The defendants use the proceedings to put the war on trial. A parade of celebrity activists and liberals gives testimony, and along with vast numbers of demonstrations, helps to keep the anti-war message in headlines for over half a year.
In early 1970, all seven defendants are acquitted of conspiracy; two are acquitted of all charges; the other five are convicted of inciting a riot. Each is sentenced to five years and fined $5,000. These convictions are later overturned due to judicial bias and problems with jury selection.Read About Another War & Peace Newsmaker »