Rennie Davis

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Rennie Davis
Rennie Davis.jpg
Rennard Cordon Davis

(1941-05-23) May 23, 1941 (age 77)
Alma materOberlin College
Known forChicago Seven
Parent(s)Richard and Mary

Rennard Cordon "Rennie" Davis (born May 23, 1941) is a spiritual lecturer and venture capitalist who is best known for his prominent organizational role in the American anti-Vietnam War protest movement of the 1960s. He was one of the Chicago Seven defendants.


Davis was the National Director of community organizing programs (the Economic Research and Action Project, or ERAP, in Ann Arbor, Michigan), a project of Students for a Democratic Society. Davis helped organize anti-war demonstrations in Chicago before and during the 1968 Democratic National Convention for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam ("the Mobe").

He has appeared on Larry King Live, Barbara Walters, CNN, Phil Donahue, VH1, and other network programs, and provided advice in business strategies for Fortune 500 companies.[1]

Davis grew up in Berryville, Virginia, and is an alumnus of Oberlin College in Ohio. He is the son of Mary and Richard Davis, who was the chief of staff to President Harry S. Truman's Council of Economic Advisers.[2] Davis came back to Chicago for the 1996 Democratic National Convention to speak at the "Festival of Life" in Grant Park and to appear on a panel with Tom Hayden discussing "a progressive counterbalance to the religious right".[3]

Chicago Democratic Convention and Conspiracy Trial[edit]

Davis was one of the principal organizers of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam for the protests of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and engaged in unsuccessful negotiations for a permit with Chicago city counsel Tom Foran.[4] At a "police riot" in Grant Park, Davis was beaten into a concussion by Chicago police officers.[5] Unlike some other leaders, Davis was committed to nonviolence, and his assault shook the protesters remaining belief in pacifism.[6]

The Chicago Eight were seven defendants charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to nonviolent and violent protests that took place in Chicago.[7] The original eight protester/defendants, indicted by the grand jury on March 20, 1969, included Davis, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale. Seale's case was separated from the others during the early part of the trial. The Chicago Seven defense attorneys were William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The judge was Julius Hoffman. The prosecutors were Richard Schultz and Tom Foran. The trial began on 24 September 1969, and on 9 October the Illinois National Guard was called in to join the Chicago police for crowd control as demonstrations grew outside the courtroom.[7]

Divine Light Mission[edit]

In the early 1970s Davis became a follower of Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat), and was a spokesperson and speaker at the widely publicized Millennium '73 event organized by Divine Light Mission in the Houston Astrodome.[8] He described the arrival of Guru Maharaj Ji as,

The greatest event in history. ... If we knew who he was, we would crawl across America on our hands and knees to rest our heads at his feet.[9]

Texas Monthly cited Davis as stating: "This city is going to be remembered through all the ages of human civilization."[10] An Op-ed in The San Francisco Sunday Examiner speculated on whether Davis had undergone a lobotomy, and suggested, "If not, maybe he should try one."[11]

Foundation for a New Humanity[edit]

Davis later became a venture capitalist and lecturer on meditation and self-awareness. He is the founder of Foundation for a New Humanity, a technology development and venture capital company commercializing breakthrough technologies.[12]

In an article published in the Iowa Source in 2005, Davis said:

If you were to do a survey of what causes misery on earth, it would tend to fall into three broad categories. One, we can call systems: the economy, AIDS, terrorism--things that are 'systems' in nature. The second would be a list of everybody to blame: Bush is the cause of my misery, my ex-wife, my boss. The third would be things that come utterly out of left field: a tornado through town, a tsunami, events that are not in our apparent control. What this huge list would have in common--something everybody would agree with — is that the cause of misery are things outside 'myself'. But the cause of our misery is absolutely, positively not at all what we believe it to be. This is not a new view. Certainly saints and philosophers in every generation have basically argued if you want to change the world, you have to change yourself.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Moore, James (March 2005). "From Chicago 7 to Venture Capitalist to Grand Canyon Visionary". Iowa Source: Iowa's Enlightening Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 May 2006.
  2. ^ "Episode 13: Make Love not War". CNN. Archived from the original on April 30, 2003.
  3. ^ "The trial of the Chicago Seven". University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. n.d.
  4. ^ Schultz, John (2009-04-15). The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: Revised Edition. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226741147.
  5. ^ Daniels, Robert Vincent (1996). Year of the Heroic Guerrilla: World Revolution and Counterrevolution in 1968. Harvard University Press. pp. 214–215. ISBN 9780674964518.
  6. ^ Dellinger, David (2010-05-01). From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 530. ISBN 9781608990610.
  7. ^ a b "The Trial of The Chicago Seven (or Chicago Eight)". Archived from the original on 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  8. ^ Kent, Stephen A. Dr. From slogans to mantras: social protest and religious conversion in the late Vietnam war era Syracuse University press ISBN 0-8156-2923-0 (2001)page 52
  9. ^ Davis, Rennie in the introduction of the book Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? Edited by Charles Cameron November 1973 published by Bantam Books, Inc.
  10. ^ Dreyer, Thorne (January 1, 1974). "God Goes to the Astrodome". Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications.
  11. ^ Brown, Mick The Spiritual Tourist' Bloomsbury publishing ISBN 1-58234-034-X Chapter Her Master's Voice' page 197.
  12. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Greenfield, Robert. The Spiritual Supermarket. Saturday Review Press/E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc, New York. 1975 ISBN 978-0-8415-0367-0
  • Johns, Andrew L. Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, Journal of Cold War Studies - Volume 5, Number 2, Spring 2003, pp. 86–89
  • Chatfield, Charles, At the Hands of Historians: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era, 'Peace & Change', Volume 29 Issue 3-4 Page 483 - July 2004 PDF

External links[edit]