I'm back from three days in Chicago. While most of my days were spent in customer service training, I was able to do some research and to walk around the downtown area. At the microfilm room at the Harold Washington Library, I was able to copy articles from the Chicago Daily News (the best paper in the city at the time), the Village Voice, and the underground newspaper The Chicago Seed. The Voice had some excellent first-person coverage of the demonstrations from an outsider's point of view.
I read a sad reminder of just how intense the feeling was in those days:
NEW YORK (UPI)--A Columbia University co-ed, despondent over the defeat of Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy for the Democratic presidential nomination, apparently committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills, police said.
Beside the body of the student... was an empty bottle of pills and a note saying she had killed herself because "she was depressed over the defeat of McCarthy," police said.
-Chicago Daily News, August 31, 1968
And I read that in spite of the Crosby Stills Nash and Young song, Abe Peck, editor of The Seed, begged people not to come to Chicago:
It's a no-go.
Don't come to Chicago if you expect a five-day Festival of Life, music and love. The word is out. Many people are into confrontation. The Man is into confrontation. Nobody takes the Amphitheater [The International Amphitheater, where the convention was held] Cars and buildings will burn. Chicago may host a Festival of Blood.
-Chicago Seed, v.2, No. 11
The YouTube video, by the way, was a high school history project. The four young men who made it certainly deserved an A.
In my walk around the South Loop, I visited the General Logan statue where protesters "took the hill," walked through the lobby of the Chicago Hilton and Towers (formerly the Conrad Hilton), and viewed the site of the Grant Park battleground. Like most other people, I find omens. I saw a good one Monday night. There, on Van Buren Street between Michigan Avenue and Wabash, was a white Volkswagen Beetle. Not one of the new ones, but one that was on the road in 1968, when my character Helena was driving her white VW between the South Loop and the North Side.