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David Dellinger, 88, Father of the Chicago Seven

By Margaret Lyons on May 27, 2004 4:44PM

David Dellinger; Photo: NYTDavid Dellinger, the oldest member of the Chicago Seven, died Tuesday in a retirement home in Vermont. He was 88. A famous peace activist and union organizer who called himself a "moral dissenter" in his 1993 autobiography, Dellinger is remembered for his role in the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Need a little refresher on Chicago activism? The 1968 Democratic National Convention drew thousands of anti-Vietnam War protestors into Chicago in late August. The Democrats were torn between anti-war candidates Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern and the pro-LBJ Hubert Humphrey. (They nominated Humphrey, who then lost to Nixon. Natch.) The protestors clashed repeatedly with the CPD, and the events devolved into clubbing and tear-gassing. The Chicago Seven¬óDellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, John Froines, and Lee Weiner¬ówere prosecuted and five were convicted for conspiracy to incite a riot; some, including Dellinger, were convicted additionally for traveling across state lines with the intent to incite a riot, and contempt of court. The convictions were eventually overturned by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Paul Berman called Dellinger "the single most important leader of the national antiwar movement, at its height, from 1967 through the early 1970s. You could quarrel with some of his political judgments, but he was always sober, always resolute, always selfless and always brave."