Recalling the 1968 Democratic National Convention

From the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: On the 50th anniversary of the historic 1968 Democratic National Convention, we hear reflections from four individuals who were there; Author Bernie Sieracki, University of Illinois-Chicago Professor Dick Simpson, who in 1968 was the state chairman of the McCarthy for President; Alderman Ed Burke, who in 1968 was a police officer assigned to the convention hall; and Taylor Pensoneau, who was covering the convention for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Many people living now were not alive then– nor know the level of hate and animosity that was felt at that convention, that would erupt in a violent confrontation in the streets of downtown Chicago, between anarchists and anti-war protestors, who then clashed with Chicago police assigned to keep the peace.

The films of those confrontations are the visual record of so much of what we remember of the 1968 Democratic Convention — but what was actually happening on the streets, in the political calculations, and in the convention hall that split the Democratic Party in such divisions, that the nominee, VP Hubert Humphrey was never able to catch up to Republican nominee, Richard Nixon.