[This text was originally published in AREA Chicago #7 in December 2008]

Taken from Max Elbaum’s website: https://revolutionintheair.org/chronology/

[Notes and citations which are in parenthesis correspond to a bibliography available on the website from which this timeline content was taken. -ed]


Malcolm X begins editing Mr. Muhammad Speaks for the Blackman newspaper in Harlem, which soon becomes simply Muhammad Speaks and its offices move to Chicago. By the late 1960s the paper has a 300,000-a-week circulation, and in the early 1970s 650,000-a-week, second largest of any weekly newspaper in the U.S., and covers many issues from an anti-imperialist perspective. Muhammad Speaks ceased publishing after the 1975 death of Elijah Muhammad, his son Wallace renamed the paper The Bilalian News and it folded 3-4 years later. (Woodford in Underground)


August 11-16: Black uprising in Watts, lasting for six days, 34 killed, 1,000 injured and 4,000 arrested, fire damage estimated at $175 million. Two days of uprisings in Chicago. (CrossRoads No. 22; Goines chron; Prize; Almanac; Allen p126 says 9 total in 1965.)


Summer: Black uprisings in Chicago, New York, Cleveland and a total of 38 cities (Haywood; Allen p126 also says total is 38.)
Summer: Martin Luther King’s Chicago Campaign for open housing puts a spotlight on racism in the north. But the campaign fails to win its concrete goals and is essentially defeated by the Daley machine. (Freedom; Marable)
December: The Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (SMC) is formed at a conference at the University of Chicago. Initially a coalition effort that included SWP, CP and other folks, the SMC splintered in summer 1968 and by that fall was controlled by the SWP. (Spoke)
SCLC’s Operation Breadbasket, headed by Jesse Jackson, wins its first significant victory, obtaining agreements from four large Chicago grocery corporations to carry products of Black corporations and deposit money in Black-owned banks. (Marable)


September: National Conference for a New Politics (NCNP), held over Labor Day Weekend in Chicago, and which at least some of the organizers hoped to see as the launching pad for a Martin Luther King/Benjamin Spock presidential ticket in 1968, is polarized especially around issues of race and racism and ends in failure (Carson; Spoke; Sale; Gitlin; Echols)


March 24-26: Formation of the New University Conference (NUC) at a conference attended by 350 radical academics in Chicago (Sale; Guardian, April 6, 1968)
July: Afro-American Patrolmen’s Association formed in Chicago; similar groups are formed in many cities reflecting the “dual role” of Black police officers. (Guardian, October 5, 1968)
Early August: Conference in Sandy Springs, Maryland on the 120th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls New York Women’s Rights Convention. With 20 participants this is the “first national conference of the fledgling women’s movement,” whose initial constituent local groups had begun to take shape in fall 1967. The Westside Group in Chicago started as the first-second wave women’s liberation group in the U.S.. A much larger conference of 200 women (all white; an explicit decision had been made earlier not to invite Black women [Out of fears that a Black Power agenda would run counter to feminist politics -ED] takes place in Lake Villa, Illinois, outside Chicago, over Thanksgiving. Major figures in shaping the radical wing of the burgeoning women’s movement attend one of both meetings: Shulamith Firestone, Marilyn Webb, Judith Brown, Charlotte Bunch, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Kathie Sarachild (originator of the phrase “consciousness-raising”) Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kate Millet and others. This is the period of the explosive growth in women’s consciousness-raising groups across the country, with their framework that “the personal is political.” There is tension in the movement and at these conferences between “politicos” and “feminists”, that is, between the emerging radical feminist current and activists who see the women’s liberation movement more closely linked to other forces on the Left. The pathbreaking. if short-lived, radical Feminist organizations were also formed during this year and 1969: Redstockings (initiated in February 1969 by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone, lasting until fall 1970); The Feminists (formed officially in June 1969, with origins in Ti-Grace Atkinson’s resignation from NOW in October 17, 1968, lasting until late 1973); Cell 16 (formed in summer 1968 by Roxanne Dunbar, lasting until 1973); and New York Radical Feminists (launched in fall 1969 by Shulamith Firestone—who had left Redstockings—and Anne Koedt, lasted until 1972 with remnants sponsoring conferences until 1974). Many papers from this phase of the women’s movement (for example, “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” by Anne Koedt or “The Politics of Housework,” by Pat Mainardi) are circulated and gathered in the influential collections Notes from the First Year. (1968) and, later, Notes from the Second Year (1970) and Notes from the Third Year (1971); they are also and reprinted widely in anthologies and as pamphlets. (Webb in Underground; Echols; Durbin in Sixties Papers; Line of March No. 17; Gitlin)

August 25-30: Democratic National Convention in Chicago: “The Whole World Is Watching” as police riot and batter demonstrators,  reporters and McCarthy delegates day after day. Protests by some McCarthy and other delegates reach inside the hall, as the convention majority nominates Hubert Humphrey and rejects a peace platform. The polarization and nationally televised repression is a watershed experience for the antiwar movement and the country. While polls show a majority backing the police, the  confrontation (along with the other events of 1968 of course) spurs the growth of the New Left; that fall, 100 of 350-400 SDS chapters are new ones. (Sale; Gitlin)


January 22: Third World Liberation Front begins student strike at Berkeley demanding an autonomous Third World college; eventually they win a compromise Ethnic Studies Division at UC, the strike ends March 14. On February 13 a Black Student Strike at University of Wisconsin brings out the National Guard; the Guard is also called out at University of North Carolina. Students occupy a building at the University of Chicago for 16 days beginning January 30 to protest denial of tenure to Marlene Dixon—they lose and many are expelled. There were major strikes and occupations in spring 1969 at City College and Brooklyn College in New York, led by Black and Puerto Rican students and especially important in the emergence of a large radical movement among Puerto Rican students. In March 1971 there was a three-day takeover of a building at City College led by Asian American students. Over the next 18 months confrontations and increasing violence grip the nation’s campuses, as well as society in general. And the mass demonstrations and repression is accompanied by a rise in small-group actions: from January 1969 to April 1970 there are an estimated 5,000 bombings in the U.S., an unprecedented phenomenon. (Goines chron; Rorabaugh; Reunion; Louie; Torres; Wei; Guardian, February 8, 1969)

June 18-22: SDS splits and explodes at Chicago Convention. The Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) faction, while probably not holding a majority of delegates, “expels” the PL-led faction. RYM itself is an alliance of the Weatherman (RYM I) and RYM II factions, which falls apart over the next several months. RYM II is the main seedbed for several of the early formations of the New Communist Movement. The polemics surrounding the SDS explosion – in particular the controversies over “You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows,” published in New Left Notes June 18 issue – become a major pivot and reference point for left debate in 1969-70. The PL-SDS faction survives another year or so and then disintegrates. (Sale; self-published SDS & RYM material in BREV-3; Aronowitz; Weather; Guardian, June 28, 1969)

June: Puerto Rican activists from New York visit the recently formed Chicago Young Lords Organization and gain authorization to organize a Lords group in New York City. Three New York groups come together —July 22 becomes the official Young Lords Party anniversary date—and begin organizing as Young Lords, largely modeled on the Black Panthers. Their first office is opened in September and in May 1970 they start publishing Palante as a full-sized tabloid newspaper. At the end of 1970 they have roughly 1,000 members, their height of influence and activity is 1970-1972. The New York-centered group expands, splits with the Chicago Lords in April-May 1970, and changes its name to the Young Lords Party in June 1970. (Guzman in Underground; Franklin; Torres)

September 24: The “Conspiracy” trial opens in Chicago. On October 29 Judge Julius Hoffman orders Bobby Seale bound and gagged in his chair. His case is separated from that of the other 7 defendants on November 4. (Hayden; Reunion)

October 8-11: Weatherman Days of Rage to “Bring the War Home” in Chicago.  Criticized by Fred Hampton, leader of Chicago Panthers and the Chicago Rainbow Coalition—the first formation to use that term. The Rainbow included the Panthers, Young Patriots (who later split and produce an offshoot, the Patriot Party, which organizes nationwide), and the Young Lords Organization. The RYM II faction, which had split with Weatherman (RYM I) over the summer, holds a larger but peaceful action over the same four days in Chicago. (Sale; Guzman in Underground; self-published RYM material in BREV-3; Guardian, February 14, 1970)

December 4: Fred Hampton and Mark Clark assassinated by police in Chicago. (Sale)

Chicago Women’s Liberation Union is founded, the first organization to call itself “socialist-feminist.” The influential manifesto written by CWLU’s Hyde Park chapter, Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women’s Movement, is published in 1972. Bread and Roses, a “socialist women’s liberation organization” in Boston, is formed about the same time, in summer 1969. These groups are joined in the next few years by autonomous women’s unions in Berkeley-Oakland, New York, Boston and many other cities within the radical wing of the women’s movement, differences take clearer shape between the radical feminist and newly emerging socialist feminist tendencies. (Echols; Red Apple in SR No. 38 – which says CWLU is formed in 1970; Line of March No. 17)
Rising Up Angry (RUA) group is started in Chicago to organize white working class youth. Begins publication of Rising Up Angry newspaper. Survives until about 1975. (Rising Up Angry Vol. 5, No. 7 in BREV-1; Guardian, November 13, 1974; Franklin)

Chicago-area High School Independent Press formed, publishes a widely distributed pamphlet How to Start a High School Underground Newspaper; the group soon drops “Chicago” from its name, moves its office to Houston in July 1970 and starts publishing FPS, a young peoples news service. In 1971-72 it moves to Ann Arbor, merges with a project called Youth Liberation, and FPS soon becomes a “Magazine of Young People’s Liberation” which includes reprints from the high school underground press. (Berlet in Underground)

June 27-28: 850 union members and sympathizers form the National Coordinating Committee for Trade Union Action and Democracy at a Chicago “National Rank-and-File Action Conference” initiated by Labor Today, a CP-linked publication. (Guardian, July 4, 1970)


October 9-11: First national meeting of the New American Movement held in Chicago, after a more than a year period of organizing by a national interim committee. A national conference on program is held in November, and the formal Founding Convention in June 1972 (SR No. 8; SDHx)
March 10-12: National Black Political Convention in Gary draws 8,000, forms National Black Assembly (or National Black Political Assembly/NBPA) whose first “seating” is October 21/22 in Chicago. Amiri Baraka is Secretary General of NBPA until 1975. Gary convention approves a National Black Political Agenda, among other things to be taken to the Democratic and Republican conventions to obtain as much commitment to its principles as possible. One week after the Agenda is released, in May, the Congressional Black Caucus, dissatisfied with its anti-busing and anti-Israel provisions, issues its own document, the Black Declaration and the Black Bill of Rights which Ron Walters called “a watered down version of the Agenda.” Marable terms the Gary Convention “the high point of Black nationalist agitation in the post-World War II period.” The second convention, much smaller with 1,700 present, is held March 14-17, 1974 in Little Rock. (Freedom; Forward No. 3; Walters in Black Scholar October 1975; Marable; Guardian, June 21, 1972 & April 3, 1974)
September: Founding national meeting of Black Workers Congress (BWC) in Gary, in preparation since late 1970, 400 delegates attend, with the concept of Black including all peoples of color within the U.S. The League of Revalutionary Black Workers (LRBW) and United Black Workers from Mahwah, New Jersey, expected at one time to be the pillars of the group, do not affiliate; Ken Cockrell, Mike Hamlin and John Watson had resigned from LRBW earlier, as of June 12, 1971. By the end of this year many of the members who were left in LRBW, including key leader General Baker, had joined the Communist League (Georgakas; self-published material in BNCM-1).


October: Grailville (Cincinnati) Ohio conference of 200-300 “independent” Marxist-Leninist activists and collectives—Sojourner Truth Organization (S TO) in Chicago played a leading role—that is unsuccessful at forming a national organization; some remnants from this conference form the short-lived “Federation” or “Midwest Federation” later, about 1974. (Dowling in CW#3; O’Brien)
November 21: Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the Chicago 7 Conspiracy convictions and the government announces it will not retry the case. After several years of political trials on conspiracy charges the government fails to win a single case, being defeated each time by a jury or on appeal. (Reunion)

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