David Dellinger, age 54 at the time of trial, was the Chicago Seven's old man. The stern, Christian Socialist from Wakefield, Massachusetts was described by prosecutors "the chief architect of the conspiracy" because of his position as the chair of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
Dellinger's dedication to anti-war causes began early in life. After graduating from Yale, Dellinger was studying in the Union Theological Seminary when World War II broke out. Despite his eligibility for a deferment as a seminary student, Dellinger refused to register for the draft and, as a result, was sentenced to three years in prison. Later, he actively opposed both the Korean War and the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Dellinger usually appeared in court in the same green-tweed sports jacket and rumpled flannels--giving him the appearance of "an off-duty scoutmaster," according to J. Anthony Lukas. He was a combative and uncompromising presence in the courtroom, hurling angry words such as "liar," "fascist," or "you're the chief prosecutor" at Judge Hoffman when he felt the cause of the defendants had been wronged.
Dellinger continued his leftist activism into his later year. When the Democratic Convention returned to Chicago in 1996, Dellinger, then age 81, was in town to speak at a "Stop the Drug War" rally in Grant Park. He regularly fasted in an effort to change the name of Columbus Day to "Native American Day." Dellinger died on May 24, 2004.
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