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Arrest photo of young activist Bernie Sanders emerges from Tribune archives

A Chicago Tribune archival photo of a young man being arrested in 1963 at a South Side protest is Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, his campaign has confirmed, bolstering the candidate's narrative about his civil rights activism.

The black-and-white photo shows a 21-year-old Sanders, then a University of Chicago student, being taken by Chicago police toward a police wagon. An acetate negative of the photo was found in the Tribune's archives, said Marianne Mather, a Chicago Tribune photo editor.

"Bernie identified it himself," said Tad Devine, a senior adviser to the campaign, adding that Sanders looked at a digital image of the photo. "He looked at it — he actually has his student ID from the University of Chicago in his wallet — and he said, 'Yes, that indeed is (me).'" Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, was traveling Friday near Reno, Nev., on the eve of the state's Democratic presidential caucuses.

Sanders' activism at the University of Chicago has been in the news recently, after questions arose about a different photo that appeared to show Sanders addressing students at a 1962 campus sit-in. At first, several alumni identified the speaker as another man, according to the University of Chicago Library's Special Research Center. The other man is no longer alive.

However, photographer Danny Lyon, who took that photo, contacted the research center and made available more photos from the same sequence, confirming Sanders' identity, the center said.

Devine called those questions about the sit-in photo "unfair and unfounded."

"His activism and when it occurred, as a young college student, set in motion the direction of his life," Devine said.

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Information with the negative indicated that the Tribune arrest photo was taken in August 1963 near South 73rd Street and Lowe Avenue, which is in the Englewood neighborhood.

In the mid-1960s, protests over segregation in the area raged over mobile classrooms dubbed "Willis Wagons," named for then-Chicago Schools Superintendent Benjamin Willis. The phrase "Willis Wagons" was believed to have been coined in 1963 by Rosie Simpson, a leader in education reform in Chicago. She was describing the trailers that Willis set up for black children instead of sending them to white schools.

Sanders was arrested Aug. 12, 1963, and charged with resisting arrest. He was found guilty and fined $25, according to a Tribune story about the protests.

Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. He transferred there in January 1962 after studying at Brooklyn College, according to a story in the University of Chicago magazine.

At the University of Chicago, he was a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, a major civil rights group. News accounts from the time had Sanders leading protests over racial inequality.

kskiba@tribpub.com

Twitter @Katherine Skiba

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