The Chicago conspiracy trial defendants were the first individuals prosecuted under the anti-riot provisions that Congress incorporated in the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The U.S. House of Representatives in 1967 overwhelmingly passed a version of the anti-riot provision in response to the urban riots of that summer and assertions from some members of Congress that African-American political activists had instigated the violence. The Senate included the provision in an open housing bill, and although President Johnson and Attorney General Ramsey Clark did not support the anti-riot provision, the administration accepted it to secure passage of the civil rights measure.
[Document Source: 82 Stat. 75.]
(a) (1) Whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with intent –
(A) to incite a riot; or (B) to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or (C) to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; or (D) to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; and who either during the course of any such travel or use or thereafter performs or attempts to perform any other overt act for any purpose specified in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this paragraph shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (b) In any prosecution under this section, proof that a defendant engaged or attempted to engage in one or more of the overt acts described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) and (1) has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, or (2) has use of or used any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including but not limited to, mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, to communicate with or broadcast to any person or group of persons prior to such overt acts, such travel or use shall be admissible proof to establish that such defendant traveled in or used such facility of interstate or foreign commerce.