In 1968, the streets of Chicago turned into a war zone. Unarmed protesters were beaten and gassed by the police department, backed up by National Guard troops.
It was wild in America; Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, Lyndon Johnson was upping the monthly draft tally (a troop surge or sorts) and it was clear, the Democratic National Convention would not go as smoothly as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley planned.
Most of the people responsible for the protests were brought to trial on conspiracy charges, as well as one speaker at a rally who had nothing to do with the planning. That man happened to be the Chairman of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale. Seale and the other defendants: Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner were known collectively as the Chicago 8. Bobby Seale was later tried separately, so they were down to the Chicago 7. After all the contempt of court sentences were handed out, even the two defense attorneys, William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass were set to spend time behind bars. All the charges were eventally overturned.
Brett Morgen includes the attorneys in the group's head count, bringing it to 'Chicago 10,' conveniently also the title of his new documentary film. Morgen brings a unique perspective to this project; born in 1968, he isn't old enough to remember what happened in Chicago that summer, but he is clearly inspired by the energy of the time.
Morgen uses a variety of techniques to connect story of the Chicago 10 to a broader audience, including young people, who grew up on cable TV and the Internet and would think nothing of flipping between cartoons, documentaries, the news and music videos, all of which are represented stylistically in portions of this film.
Brett Morgen talks about his creative process, treading on sacred ground, and standing up for what you believe in. Hear it in hour two of Bob Edwards Weekend or on the free podcast.