9 Shocking Photos Of Racism In The U.S.

1A black woman saves a KKK member from a beating at a Michigan rally

In June 1996, 17 KKK members held a small rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hundreds of locals joined forces in a counter protest, while the Klan stood protected by police in riot gear.

One Klansman, Albert McKeel Jr., dared to venture outside of the protective circle and the crowd soon gave chase. Protesters began to kick and strike the man with sticks and placards. As the blows continued to rain down on him, a horrified protester, Keshia Thomas, then 18, threw herself on top of him. She later said, “Nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not for an idea."

She never met the Klansman again, but months later a young man approached her in a coffee shop and thanked her. When she asked what he was thanking her for, he said, “That was my dad.”

2Civil rights activist James Meredith is shot while on a "March Against Fear"

Veteran wire-service photographers Jack Thornell and Sammy Parrish sat in their car on the left-side shoulder of U.S. 51, a couple of miles south of Hernando, Mississippi in June 1966 while waiting for activist James Meredith and some followers to pass. The group was on a “March Against Fear” from Memphis to Jackson.

As they got closer to the car, a man called out from the vegetation on the side of the highway, pointed a 16-gauge shotgun toward the walkers and said “Meredith. James Meredith. I only want James Meredith.” He hit Meredith in the back just a few feet from the photographers' Ford Mustang.

Thornell snapped away as an injured Meredith crawled toward them. He took the iconic photo above which won a Pulitzer Prize and galvanized the civil rights movement. Meredith, who was not severely injured, later recovered and rejoined the march he had originated—this time with civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael in tow. Together, the marchers successfully reached Jackson, Mississippi.

The unemployed hardware clerk from Memphis who was responsible for the crime, Aubrey James Norvell, was apprehended at the scene and later pleaded to shooting Meredith. He served 18 months of a five-year prison sentence, then dropped out of sight.

3The teen who became a poster girl for racial intolerance during desegregation

In 1957, 15-year-old Hazel Bryan became the face of racial intolerance during the civil rights movement. The girl in front of her is Elizabeth Eckford, one of nine African-American students who were entering Little Rock Central High School at the start of desegregation.

Hazel's snarling white face behind her became the symbol of racial bigotry. As the years passed, the young woman felt she had spent much of her life living down the incident. In 1963, she called Eckford to apologize. Eckford accepted and moved on.

But their paths would cross again. In 1997, to mark the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of the school, the women met in person and were again photographed, this time as symbols of racial healing and togetherness. They became friends and spoke in public about the need for harmony. That friendship was short-lived, however—Eckford had doubts about Bryan's motives and ended the friendship.

4A homeless farmer is lynched while children look on

In 1935, a homeless tenant farmer, Rubin Stacy, was down on his luck when he knocked on a white woman's door for some food. When Marion Jones opened the door, she screamed, and he was promptly arrested.

As he was being led to jail by six deputies, a mob of about 100 overpowered the group, and lynched him in sight of Marion's house after she claimed he tried to assault her with a knife when she offered him a drink—she later recanted.

5A man pushed his fiancée to safety before a car crashed into counter protesters in Charlottesville

Marcus Martin, 26, is captured in the photograph above, flying over the hood of the car driven by white supremacist James Fields, Jr. in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. The man, who pushed his fiancée out of the way of the car before it crashed into counter-protesters, said the accused neo-Nazi driver “knew what he was doing.”

Martin attended the Charlottesville counter-protests with his fiancée and a friend, Heather Heyer, 32, who was also in the path of the car and died at the scene.

6A Twitter account is exposing protesters who gathered at the "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville

A Twitter account called Yes, You're Racist, has been identifying and exposing far-right protesters who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Peter Cvjetanovic, 20, a political science student at the University of Reno, was one of the marchers called out on social media after the above image went viral. He said that while he didn't expect the photo to spread, he identifies as a white nationalist who cares for all people and wants to “preserve what we have.”

The University of Nevada released a statement saying, "Racism and white supremacist movements have a corrosive effect on our society. These movements do not represent our values as a university. We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country."

Many people, including UNR alumni, are calling for Cvjetanovic to be expelled.

7Lunch counter demonstrators are heckled and abused in Jackson, Mississippi

John Salter, a social science professor at Tougaloo College, sat with his students Anne Moody, Pearlena Lewis, and Memphis Norman—a white man and three black students—at the "Whites Only" counter in Woolworth's store lunch counter in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. Nobody would serve them, and students from a nearby high school taunted them mercilessly. They poured condiments on the heads of the protesters as police officers watched the events unfold but did nothing.

The group was physically assaulted and pulled off their stools but always made their way back to the counter. They sat for hours until the manager closed the store down. No police officer would escort them out, so the president of Tougaloo College led the group out of Woolworth's and to the safety NAACP headquarters a few blocks away.

8A KKK image finds news life 25 years after it was first published

This photo was shot about 25 years ago, by former photographer Todd Robertson at a KKK rally in Gainesville, Georgia.

The white supremacist group hoped to breathe some life into its declining membership of the late 1980s and early '90s. While reporters and the staff photographer of Gainesville Times focused on the speakers at the rally and watched for potential signs of conflict, Robertson followed a mother and her two young boys, dressed in iconic KKK garb. One of the boys approached a black state trooper, who was holding his riot shield on the ground. Seeing his reflection, the boy reached for the shield, and Robertson snapped the photo. Almost immediately, his mother swooped in and took away the toddler, whom she identified as “Josh.”

Robertson, who left photography behind and has no idea of the whereabouts of Josh or how he turned out, interprets the trooper's reaction as a mix of “disgust and sorrow. They felt sorry for the kid. You could tell he did not know the difference between that day and Halloween.”

9A black police officer safeguards a KKK rally from counter protesters

This photo was shared across social media several thousand times after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, but it is not from that rally. It shows a picture of a black cop standing in front of white supremacists and was taken in July 2017 in the city.

Officer Darius Ricco Nash was on duty and said of the photo, "I don't feel like I'm a hero for it. I swore to protect my city, and that's what I was there to do. I don't think it makes me a hero, just doing what I believe in.” Nash also said he appreciated the show of support for law enforcement and said the experience "humbled me a whole lot, just seeing how a picture like that can reveal so much."

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