by Bernard Perlin
The 1968 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Chicago, is infamous as a shocking instance of police brutality against peaceful protesters, onlookers, and even passers-by.
Perlin’s Mayor Daley commemorates the Chicago convention by depicting the Chicago mayor caught between two groups of demonstrators. On the right are convention delegates wearing straw hats and holding up signs for the two leading democratic candidates: Senator Eugene J. McCarthy, an anti-war candidate, and Hubert H. Humphrey, the sitting vice-president serving with President Lyndon B. Johnson. On the left, demonstrators are protesting the Vietnam War. Both groups surround a huge Mayor Richard J. Daley, pinning him against tenement buildings.
The anti-war protestors are all ages, races, and sexes (the delegates, however, were almost exclusively white males). What does this show about the extent of the grass-roots war protest movement? Do you think Mayor Daley looks upset in this painting?