Won't You Please Come to Chicago: Celebrating Tom Hayden

Won't You Please Come to Chicago: Celebrating Tom Hayden

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As a member of the “Chicago 7,” Hayden was tried for - and acquitted of - conspiracy and incitement at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Here with fellow defendants, from left, John Froines,Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner and Abbie Hoffman; seated are Rennie Davis and David Dellinger. Photo by Chicago Tribune

We honor Tom Hayden, tireless activist, lawmaker, writer, "radical inside the system," now dead at 76 - both for how  long and hard he fought, and the cogent, hopeful way he did it. From his thoughtful view of this horror of an election season as "the end of one generation on the left and the rise of another," to his inspired reportage on the 1967 Newark riots a.k.a. occupation - sparked specifically by the police beating of a black cab driver and historically by the too-long grievances of African-Americans - he brilliantly and faithfully upheld "the idea and practice of democracy (as) a revolutionary idea." Honing in on the trial of the Chicago 7, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young memorably celebrated the spirit of what Hayden viewed as that lofty "unfinished business" - and his enduring legacy. 

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A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Segregationists beat Hayden at a 1971 civil rights protest.

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