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Profile of Tom Hayden

Activist / Politician
Date Of Birth:
11 December 1939
Date Of Death:
23 October 2016
Place Of Birth:
Detroit, Michigan
Best Known As:
The California political activist once married to Jane Fonda
Political activist Tom Hayden made a name for himself in the 1960s as a radical reformer of the left, then became more famous in the 1970s as a California politician married to movie star Jane Fonda. Tom Hayden was one of the best known "student" anti-war protesters during the Vietnam War, even though his years as a student at the University of Michigan were past. When he had been a student, however, he participated in desegregation protests in the South in the early 1960s and helped co-found the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). He was jailed in Georgia for his efforts, and that's where he drafted his 1962 call to action, The Port Huron Statement. Hayden then turned to protesting the Vietnam War (he visited Hanoi in 1965), and in 1968 he and seven others were arrested for inciting riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. After five years of trials and appeals, he was acquitted. He moved to California in 1971 and married Jane Fonda in 1973. She bankrolled his bids for national office (he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1976 and lost) and in local races, and Hayden was elected to the State Assembly in 1982. The couple had two children, but divorced in 1990. Hayden spent a decade in the State Assembly before being elected to the State Senate, where he served for eight more years. During that time he was also publishing articles and books on political matters -- especially the Vietnam War and the American invasion of Iraq. His books include Vietnam: The Struggle for Peace 1972-73 (1973); The American Future: New Visions Beyond Old Frontiers (1980); Reunion: A Memoir (1989); Rebel: A Personal History of the 1960s (2003); Ending the War in Iraq (2007); and Listen Yankee! Why Cuba Matters (2015).