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Bill Ayers is best known for his involvement with the Weather Underground, a militant group created to end the Vietnam War.
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(Their older son Zayd was born in 1977.)
Federal charges against Ayers and Dohrn were dismissed because of “improper surveillance,” according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Ayers returned to school to study early childhood education at Bank Street College of Education and received his master’s degree in 1984. Staying on there, he worked as an instructor while working on a doctorate in curriculum and teaching,
which he completed in 1987. Ayers joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1992. In addition to his work at the university, he has become an accomplished author, writing numerous works on education, including The Good Preschool Teacher: Six Teachers Reflect on Their Lives (1989), To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (1993), and Teaching for Social Justice: A Democracy and Education Reader (1998).
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Ayers found himself in the midst of media maelstrom. His connection to Democratic candidate Barack Obama became an issue brought up by John McCain’s campaign, which made automated calls to voters in several states, including Nevada and Wisconsin. The message, in part, said that Obama “has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans,” according to an Associated Press report.
Obama and Ayers have known each other for years. Ayers and Dohrn hosted an event for Obama at their house in the mid-1990s during Obama’s first campaign for the Illinois Senate. They both have worked with two non-profit groups, the Woods Fund of Chicago and Chicago Anneberg Challenge, over the years. They have not been in contact with each other, however, since 2005 excluding one chance encounter in their shared neighborhood in 2007, according to a report in The New York Times. "The suggestion that Ayers was a political adviser to Obama or someone who shaped his political views is patently false," said Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt to The New York Times.
Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is on sabbatical for the 2008-2009 academic year. He lives in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood with Bernardine Dohrn.
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