Loyola University Chicago

Women and Leadership Archives


The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: One Juror’s Ordeal

Edgewater Historical Society

On August 26, 2018, the Edgewater Historical Society will open a new exhibit entitled, “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: One Juror’s Ordeal.” Fifty years ago this August, the 1968 Democratic Convention was held in Chicago. The trial started a year later in September 1969. The trial remains as politically and historically significant today as it was at the time. 1968 was a turbulent year - Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and there were worldwide protests. People came from all over the country to Chicago to protest the Vietnam War and the convention itself. “The Festival of Life” erupted in unforgettable violence and chaos. Eight men were indicted on conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite a riot. Jean Fritz, who grew up in Edgewater, was a juror on the trial. The jury was sequestered for four and a half months and she kept a daily journal. The trial became theater of the absurd. Although Jean wanted acquittal on both counts, five of the defendants were convicted of crossing states lines to incite a riot. In the appellate court hearings, Jean was called to testify and her testimony was in large part responsible for the verdict being overturned. This was a life changing experience for her, morally and politically. Her insights, interviews, articles, and videos are among the archiving material used in the exhibit. The opening reception on August 26, will be between 4:00 and 7:00 pm at the museum located at 5358 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago. Museum hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and upon request at marjoriefritzbirch@gmail.com

Admission is free. The exhibit will be ongoing.

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Jean Fritz's papers are held at the Women and Leadership Archives.