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Who Was the Real Tom Hayden? Learn More About the True 'Chicago 7'



Aaron Sorkin's latest film The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the true story of the so-called Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters who were charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots following the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

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Tom Hayden was one of the seven defendants, who is played by Eddie Redmayne in the film. Keep reading for what you need to know about Tom and his involvement in the counterculture protests that took place in Chicago.

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Who was Tom Hayden?

Michigan-born Tom Hayden was a social and political activist and author, perhaps best known for his role in the Chicago Seven and for authoring the 1962 Port Huron Statement, the Students for a Democratic Society manifesto, though he would later go on to marry Jane Fonda and hold public office.

During his time at the University of Michigan, Tom was moved by an intervention by Sandra Cason where she turned back a motion denying support for sit-ins in the struggle against racial segregation, and went on to marry her, but they divorced the following year in 1962.

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In 1967, Tom bore witness to the Newark Riots, which he chronicled in his book Rebellion in Newark of the same year. The fact that he authored such a book attracted the FBI's attention, who placed him on the "Rabble Rouser Index."

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What was Tom's involvement in the Chicago Seven?

In 1968, Tom joined "the Mobe," which stands for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. The group played a big role in protesting the war outside of Chicago's DNC that year, protests that were broken up by what the U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence called "a police riot," according to the New York Times.

Six months after the convention, Tom and seven other protesters were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and incitement to riot as part of the "Chicago Eight," which became the "Chicago Seven" when Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale's case was separated from the others.

Tom was convicted along with four others of crossing state lines to incite a riot.

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Tom later married Jane Fonda.

In 1972, Tom founded the Indochina Peace Campaign (IPC), which demanded unconditional amnesty for U.S. draft evaders. Jane Fonda, who would go on to become his wife in 1973, was a big supporter of the IPC and eventually turned the acronym into the name of her film production company, IPC Films, which produced Nine to Five, among other memorable movies.

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Together with Jane, they shared one son: Troy Garity. Also an actor, Troy's first onscreen appearance was in 1974 as a baby when Jane and Tom carried him through their Vietnam travelogue, Introduction to the Enemy.

Tom went on to become a member of the California State Assembly in 1982 and held office for 10 years, until he was elected as a member of the California Senate in 1992.

He passed away in 2016 at the age of 76 and became the first to be buried in the eco-friendly section of Santa Monica's Woodlawn Cemetery.

Stream The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix Oct. 16 to learn more about his life and activism efforts.

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