A countercultural icon of the 1960's, Abbie Hoffman was successful at turning many flower children into political activists. Hoffman was born into a Jewish family in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1936, and became active in the civil rights movement after graduating from Brandeis University. He was arrested in Mississippi during Freedom Summer, and two years later founded a crafts store in New York City, Liberty House, that sold the products of poor people's coops in Mississippi.
He was best known for his rejection and parody of American corporate culture. In 1967, Hoffman and several friends threw dollar bills from the visitors' gallery onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, resulting in a near-riot as traders scrambled for the cash. During a major anti-war demonstration, he organized an "Exorcism of the Pentagon", in which he led over 50,000 people to surround the Pentagon in an effort to levitate the building by their combined psychic energy. He, along with Jerry Rubin and other activities, became "Yippies", and formed the Youth International Party. The Yippies held a Festival of Life at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which led to violence and arrests; these, in turn, led to the famous Chicago Seven trial (which started off as the Chicago Eight trial, but was reduced to Seven when Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers was bound, gagged, and sent to prison for contempt of court). For the next several years, Hoffman was a full-time activist until 1973, when he was arrested for the sale of cocaine. Facing a mandatory life sentence, he went underground and disappeared for 6 years, during which time he had plastic surgery, nervous breakdowns, and was an environmental activist under an alias. After emerging from hiding in 1980, he served a brief prison sentence and then re-entered the world of activism. He continued to organize people on college campuses and elsewhere, especially about environmental issues, until his death by suicide in 1989.