1968 – the Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago

In 1968, tensions were running high in America. The Vietnam War was dividing the population into pro and anti factions, and the Civil Rights struggle was doing the same. Both sides were becoming increasingly violent, and there were serious concerns that the nation might once again be riven by civil war.

With the assassination of Bobby Kennedy having removed the obvious front-runner from the competition, and the incumbent President refusing to stand for re-election, the Democratic Party was in chaos. But Robert J. Daley’s Chicago was a stronghold of the Democrats, and as Mayor, Daley promised that the convention would run smoothly.

Others disagreed. Thousands of protesters descended upon Chicago, intent on protesting against the war, for civil rights and against the forces of the Establishment. As the convention opened, violence simmered beneath the surface. It wouldn’t take much for it to erupt…

Referenced in:
She Is Always Seventeen – Harry Chapin

1972 – Jane Fonda visits North Vietnam

Jane Fonda, daughter of Henry Fonda, and a well-respected actress in her own right, was also a prominent anti-war activist during the Vietnam War. She went further than most others did, though. She visited Hanoi, meeting with North Vietnamese officials and American prisoners of war. On August 22, 1972, she made a broadcast of her impressions from her visit, and was photographed wearing an NVA uniform.

These facts are undeniable. Pretty much everything else regarding her visit is a matter of considerable controversy. A persistent rumour states that she handed notes passed to her by POWs to the NVA, leading to the torture of those prisoners. However, the prisoners actually named in this rumour (circulated as an email), have denied that she did this – and made it clear that they are no fans of her actions, either.

Referenced in:
Dr Jeep — Sisters of Mercy

1990 – Marion Barry, former and future DC Mayor, convicted of drug possession

Marion Barry was first elected the Mayor of Washington DC in 1978, and began his tenure on January 2, 1979. On January 18, 1990, Barry was videotaped by FBI agents freebasing crack cocaine. After his arrest, and throughout his trial, which concluded in August 1990, he continued to serve as Mayor, although he did not stand for re-election (which was scheduled for November of that year).

Convicted of one count of possession of cocaine, he served six months in a minimum security facility for the crime. In 1994, now out of prison, he was elected Mayor again, and served a fourth four year term from 1995 to 1999.

He does not like to be compared to Rob Ford.

Referenced in:
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous — Good Charlotte