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Phil Roeder/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Video shows young Bernie Sanders being arrested at 1963 segregation protest

His campaign confirms it’s him.


Aaron Sankin


Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders so effortlessly fits the character of the cantankerous grandpa that it’s difficult to imagine him at any other age.

However, a video unearthed by documentary film company Kartemquin Films showing Sanders being arrested by police during a sit-in protesting school segregation on Chicago’s South Side in 1963 proves that while he was once young, he was probably always cantankerous. 

At the time, Sanders was a 21-year-old student at the University of Chicago who was active in a civil rights group called Congress of Racial Equality.

The Sanders campaign confirmed to the New York Times that it was in fact Sanders in the video and that the popular democratic socialist was charged with resisting arrest, which resulted in a $25 fine.

The Chicago Tribune also posted a still black-and-white photograph from the incident showing two police officers dragging Sanders away.

The Tribune noted that the protests were over the Chicago public school system’s decision to force black students to attend classes in mobile trailers rather than integrating them into predominantly white schools.

The video comes at an opportune time for Sanders. As voters prepare to hit the polls in South Carolina and Nevada, both Sanders and rival Hillary Clinton are, for the first time this election cycle, facing electorates with large concentrations of black voters. While both campaigns have released racial justice platforms that pledge to address the issues of discrimination affecting the black community, each side has slammed the other for its lack of longterm commitment on the issue.

Seeing Sanders’s willingness to face arrest to fight segregation over half a century ago might be the strongest signal his insurgent campaign could ask for.

H/T Gawker | Photo via Phil Roeder/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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