"Don't come to Chicago...:" The events surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention as experienced by Chicago residents

Date of Completion

January 2008


History, United States




This study concerns itself with how residents of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood responded to and influenced the demonstrations surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention within the broader struggle over urban renewal from 1948 to 1972. In the years prior to 1968 two factions, one for an enclosed neighborhood and one promoting a more economically and racially diverse one, fought to advance their visions of community. The first two chapters trace the formation of each faction, and chart their initial disagreements over urban renewal from 1948-1968. The second chapter also documents the birth of the counterculture in the area. The third chapter explores protest planning during the months before the Convention, and analyzes the role of residents during Convention week demonstrations. When the Yippies announced to the world they would protest in the area in 1968, each side transferred its attention away from renewal, and to the Convention. Those for an enclosed community worked with police to repel protesters, while those for an open community worked to aid them. The subject of chapter four is the impact of Convention violence on urban renewal from 1968-1972. Pro-diversity activists, now distrustful of authorities and more openly confrontational, began to ally with gang members and new, angrier residents to promote change. This only entrenched their opponents, who by now had come to accept some diversity in the area. As part of this entrenchment, the forces for an enclosed Lincoln Park then worked more closely with authorities, including the U.S. Congress, to ultimately repress the movement for a more open neighborhood. ^