By Alexandra Jacobo
February 15, 2016
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Mainstream media jumped at the opportunity to discredit Bernie Sanders when a group of alumni came forward claiming a famous picture of Sanders speaking before a civil rights protest was actually of someone else.
Like it is in all elections, presidential hopefuls are finding some of their most positive attributes under attack. As the South Carolina primary approaches, Bernie Sanders finds his role in the Civil Rights movement questioned. South Carolina holds a large majority of minority voters, who will most likely decide the outcome of the primary, so Sanders’ involvement in the Civil Rights movement is a huge campaign focal point.
Off course the mainstream media couldn’t help themselves and jumped at the first opportunity to hopefully discredit Sanders’ past. It has been widely publicized by mainstream media that civil rights icon John Lewis never saw or met Bernie Sanders. He did point out the he met with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.
This was meant to discredit Sanders, but is actually completely understandable, as Lewis and Sanders worked across the country from each other. It’s also fair to point out that Lewis made these comments while at a press conference announcing the Congressional Black Caucus PAC’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ involvement in the Civil Rights movement may have been more brief than Lewis’s but don’t doubt that he was involved. During his time at the University of Chicago, Sanders became an active member of the campus chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He helped organize sit-ins and was appointed to a commission to study the school’s housing policies. During his time on the commission he accused the University’s President, George Beadle, of deception on what he promised the commission was going to be for:
Later, Sanders was charged with resisting arrest after protesting segregation:
There is also the famous picture of Sanders speaking to a group of students and activists before a civil rights protest:
This is the picture that now has the mainstream media yelling “FRAUD.”
Time magazine published an article claiming that four alumni from the University of Chicago say that the picture is not actually of Sanders, but of another student activist, Bruce Rappaport.
However, civil rights photographer Danny Lyons has come forward to state that not only was he the photographer taking photos of Bernie at the event, but he has several other photographs of the same event, proving that the photo is indeed of Sanders:
“In 1962 and the spring of 1963 I was the student photographer at the University of Chicago, making pictures for the yearbook, the Alumni Magazine and the student paper, The Maroon. By the summer of 1962 I had taken my camera into the deep South, and become the first photographer for SNCC.
“That winter at the University of Chicago, there was a sit-in inside the administration building protesting discrimination against blacks in university owned housing. I went to it with a CORE activist and friend. The sit in was in a crowded hallway, blocking the entrance to the office of Dr. George Beadle, the chancellor.
“I took the photograph of Bernie Sanders speaking to his fellow CORE members at that sit-in. Bob McNamara, a close friend and CORE activist, is in the very corner next to me in the picture. Across the room from me is another campus photographer named Wexler, who taught me how to develop film.
“I photographed Bernie a second time after he got a haircut, as he appeared next to the noble laureate and chancellor Dr. George Beadle. Time Magazine is now claiming it is not Bernie in the picture but someone else. It is Bernie, and it is proof of his very early dedication to justice for African Americans. The CORE sit-in that Bernie helped lead was the first civil rights sit-in to take place in the North.”
Time Magazine has since updated it’s story, months after the original was published, with a short note at the end of the article.
CNN also ran an article on the controversy around the photo, but has failed to update it with the new information from the photographer.
Unfortunately this election is probably just going to get uglier from here.