Top of page

Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Political Activists on Trial

During the 1960s and 1970s, political activists challenged the status quo, while the government—whether it was the police force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the court system—pushed back. When protestors outside the 1968 Democratic Convention, known as the "Chicago Seven," and Vietnam Veterans protesting the war outside the 1972 Republican Convention, called the "Gainesville Eight," were arrested and tried, courtroom illustrators were witness to the legal upheaval. The months-long Chicago Seven trial was widely covered by the media who relied on artists on site. At the Gainesville Eight trial, after the presiding judge forbade Aggie Whelan (now Aggie Kenny) from drawing in his courtroom, CBS sued and reaffirmed the right of courtroom artists to document the justice system.