1968 and 1972 Democratic National Conventions, Chicago and Miami Beach, Florida
Charlie Butts went to Chicago in 1968 as an aide to Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, who was a Hubert Humphrey delegate. In Miami Beach in 1972, Butts served as a George McGovern delegate. Today he’s a retired state senator.
We were trying to lay the groundwork for some kind of national role for Carl, either in the Cabinet or, as mayor, one of the right-hand persons of the president. He spoke in front of a number of delegations.
I went out to Grant Park. The feeling of tension and anger was palpable. After the unnecessarily brutal treatment of those young people by the Chicago police, I think I talked with Mayor Stokes some about what would we do in the same circumstances in Cleveland. Clearly, he would’ve had a very different reaction.
A big battle in 1968 was whether the integrated Mississippi delegation would be seated instead of the segregated one. In the early ’60s, I’d registered people to vote in Mississippi. I worked very closely with Aaron Henry of Clarksdale, Mississippi. In 1968, he was a leader of the integrated Mississippi delegation. There was a compromise: They seated half of each. In 1972, Aaron was chair of the Mississippi delegation, period.