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One of America's Most Famous Anti-War Activists Has Died

Tom Hayden was 'Chicago 7' defendant
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 24, 2016 12:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – Famed '60s anti-war activist Tom Hayden, whose name became forever linked with the celebrated Chicago 7 trial, Vietnam War protests, and ex-wife actress Jane Fonda, has died. He was 76. He died on Sunday after a long illness, said his wife, actress Barbara Williams, noting that he suffered a stroke in 2015. Hayden, once denounced as a traitor by his detractors, overcame his past and won election to the California Assembly and Senate, where he served for almost two decades as a progressive force on such issues as the environment and education. He was the only one of the radical Chicago 7 defendants to win such distinction in the mainstream political world, the AP reports.

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In 1960, while a student at the University of Michigan, Hayden was involved in the formation of Students for a Democratic Society, then dedicated to desegregating the South. In 1968, he helped organize anti-war demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that turned violent and resulted in the notorious and circus-like Chicago 7 trial. Hayden and three others were convicted of crossing state lines to incite riot. The convictions were later overturned, and an official report deemed the violence "a police riot." "Rarely, if ever, in American history has a generation begun with higher ideals and experienced greater trauma than those who lived fully the short time from 1960 to 1968," he wrote in the essay "Streets of Chicago." Read more about Hayden, who was married to Fonda for 17 years, here. (Read more Vietnam War protests stories.)

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