On this day in 1974, media heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army along with her boyfriend Steven Weed. The SLA, active only between 1973-1975, were an American self-styled left-wing revolutionary group that considered themselves to be acting on behalf of the working class, with motives in guerrilla warfare and proletarian revolution. The group committed bank robberies, two murders and other acts of violence.
Founding member Donald DeFreeze said in his manifesto “the name symbionese is taken from the word symbiosis and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body.” Their logo, the seven-headed cobra, was based on the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith).
The kidnapping of Patty Hearst was deliberate with the intention of using her to force the release of imprisoned SLA members. She was brainwashed and supplied with LSD drugs, eventually becoming an active supporter of her captors, even becoming involved in a relationship with Willie Wolfe. She took part in a bank raid and denounced her parents. As a result, she was sentenced to seven years in prison, serving just 21 months.