Jan. 23

Collected Works Presents: Bill Ayers

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In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.” Public Enemy tells Ayers’ story from the moment he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, emerged from years on the run and rebuilt their lives as public figures, often celebrated for their community work and much hated by the radical right. In the face of defamation by conservative media, including a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed solely at demonizing Ayers, and in spite of frequent death threats, Bill and Bernardine stay true to their core beliefs in the power of protest, demonstration, and deep commitment. 

Ayers reveals how he has navigated the challenges and triumphs of this public life with steadfastness and a dash of good humor—from the red carpet at the Oscars, to prison vigils and airports (where he is often detained and where he finally "confesses" that he did write Dreams from My Father), and ultimately on the ground at Grant Park in 2008 and again in 2012.

Bill Ayers, educator and activist, was born in Oak Park, Illinois. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Ayers became involved with the Students for a Democratic Society(SDS) and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. He and several others founded the Weather Underground, believing the anti-war movement needed to use violence, if necessary, to achieve its goals.

Labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the McCain campaign in 2008 and used by the radical right in an attempt to castigate Obama for "pallin' around with terrorists," Bill Ayers is in fact a dedicated teacher, father, and social justice advocate with a sharp memory and even sharper wit.

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