A black protester at Trump's rally today in Alabama was shoved, tackled, punched & kicked: https://t.co/Aq0wuaAtax pic.twitter.com/cTRDMtjuBl— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
The video above shows Donald Trump supporters attacking a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally this past weekend in Birmingham, Alabama...while Trump eggs them on from the podium: "Get him the hell out of here."
As I watched the video, I immediately recalled a famous news photo taken on September 23, 1957.
The photo was taken by Will Counts, a photographer for the Arkansas Democrat newspaper in Little Rock.
Counts' photograph shows African-American Memphis newsman L. Alex Wilson, being attacked by a white mob in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he'd been sent to cover the events surrounding the desegregation of Central High School.
|Photograph by Will Counts. |
(Click here to enlarge.)
|Newspaper editor Alex Wilson is attacked by white mob in |
Little Rock, Sept. 23, 1957.
(Click here to enlarge.)
via LIFE Magazine.
In a 2000 article, Emory University professor Hank Klibanoff wrote about the events of that day:
On the warm Monday morning of Sept. 23, the integration stalemate broke and the story changed. The National Guard, following a federal court edict, had withdrawn. The white crowds stayed, however, leaving the school’s grounds and perimeter beyond the control of authorities. Black students on their way to the school in a station wagon were heading into an unpredictable mob scene.
At the same time, in a separate car, intent on witnessing and covering the moment firsthand, were four seasoned black newsmen. Their leader was the tall, dark-skinned and serious L. Alex Wilson, the editor and general manager of the Tri-State Defender of Memphis, Tennessee—the newspaper that was the southern outpost of the Chicago Defender, one of the foremost black newspapers in the United States.
Wilson, the most honored of the black journalists on the story and, at age 49, the senior member of the group, was behind the wheel. He was accompanied by Jimmy Hicks, editor of the Amsterdam News of New York City, Moses Newson, formerly of the Tri-State Defender and now on his first assignment for the Baltimore Afro-American, and Earl Davy, a commercial photographer carrying a Graflex camera who was taking pictures that day for the local black newspaper, L.C. and Daisy Bates’ Arkansas State Press.
Wilson parked the car and led the way as the four newsmen started walking toward the school. His height, 6-foot-4, and darkness made it impossible for him to enter the scene unnoticed. He carried himself with dignity but without a hint of haughtiness. As tall as he was, he was not imposing. His shoulders were somewhat sloped and he carried himself slightly bent forward, in the manner not of a black man trying to make himself less intimidating to a white world, but of a tall man trying to negotiate a world of shorter people.
Wilson was dressed smartly, but not flamboyantly, in a dark, crisp suit. He kept his coat fastened at the middle button and wore a tan, wide-brimmed hat. As Wilson and the other newsmen walked, he could see they were approaching a crowd of white people that numbered in the hundreds and was growing, it seemed, with each step forward. Within moments, he could feel the angry presence of white men gathering behind him and gaining ground.
Get out of here! Go home, you son of a bitch nigger. Two men jumped in front of the newsmen and spread out their arms. You’ll not pass, one said. We are newspapermen, Wilson responded. We only want to do our jobs, said Hicks. You’ll not pass.
With anger and chaos seething all around him, with racist hatred running wildly out of control and with the possibility that he and his colleagues would die on the streets of Little Rock, Wilson would come face-to-face with a vow he had silently made to himself many years earlier: He would not, under any circumstances, show fear or run. The day would be as fateful for Wilson as it was for the nine Little Rock students and for the nation.
Let's be clear, the protester who interrupted Trump's rally over the weekend is "a well-known activist who said he has been tased at least 30 times and just recently marched heavily-armed through a Birmingham neighborhood to teach people about gun rights," according to AL.com.
Wilson, on the other hand, was a respected journalist who began his career as a teacher and principal at high schools in north central Florida.
But the larger question is why do Trump's rallies so often degenerate into violence, or spawn thuggish, racist behavior?
But Trump-inspired violence doesn't just take place at his campaign events.
Last August, two Boston brothers were arrested after they urinated on and beat a homeless Mexican immigrant.
Following their arrest, they told police, "Donald Trump was right; all these illegals need to be deported.”
Told of the incident, Trump's reaction was, "I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
So one doesn't need a very vivid imagination to picture Trump and his supporters joining in with the crowd in Little Rock 57 years ago as Alex Wilson was kicked and beaten.
|Via Salon.com: "Donald Trump's white fascist brigade: His rallies are now |
a safe space for racism."