This project looks at songs about demonstrations outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968, and the high-profile people arrested for inciting riots. According to the Guardian newspaper: "668 people had been arrested, 425 demonstrators were treated at temporary medical facilities, 200 were treated on the spot, 400 given first aid for tear gas exposure and 110 went to hospital. A total of 192 police officers were injured". (1)
The arrested included eight high profile activists - Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin from the hippie movement, the Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, political activists Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, John Froines, and Lee Weiner. The trial began on 24 September 1969, but soon after, the Judge, Julius Hoffman, ordered Bobby Seale to be bound and gagged for contempt of court. He was tried separately, and thus the eight became seven. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
This forms part of the larger Vietnam War Song Project, an interpretive examination of over 6,000 Vietnam War songs identified, revealing how the war's significance is represented through music. The project also collects spoken-word recordings about the conflict. The goals of the project are: (1) to critically analyse the song lyrics, searching for historical, social, and cultural themes, and collecting data on the genre, location, ethnicity, nationality, language, and time period of the recordings; (2) to learn about the Vietnam War, and the music and artists associated with it; (3) to preserve the physical records for the future, as artifacts of the 20th century. This unique collection of voices advances scholarship by providing insights into people’s views about the war over time as represented in music, looking at diverse communities and vibrant music scenes. It is crucial in developing our knowledge of the war and the humanities, through the use of a digital research platform.
Hugo Keesing, Wouter Keesing, C.L. Yarbrough, Justin Brummer
University of Maryland, Modern Songs of War and Conflict: Keesing Collection on Popular Music and Culture, 2023