Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 19, 2016.
Photo by Dina Litovsky/Redux for MSNBC

Visuals of Chicago arrest of a 21-year-old activist Bernie Sanders emerge


An archival photo showing a 21-year-old Bernie Sanders being arrested during an August 1963 civil rights protest in Chicago’s South Side was released on Saturday amid some skepticism about the senator’s civil rights activism. 

The Chicago Tribune released the black-and-white photo of Sanders, which was confirmed as authentic by the Vermont independent’s presidential campaign.

“Bernie identified it himself,” Tad Devine, senior adviser to the campaign, told the Tribune. “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].’”

As a student at the University of Chicago, Sanders was active in the civil rights movement. He was the leader of the Congress of Racial Equality and led protests and sit-ins against the institution’s student housing policies.

The newly discovered photo shows Sanders being taken away by two Chicago police officers. According to the Tribune, the protest on August 12, 1963, was in response to plans by the Chicago public school system to open segregated mobile classrooms for black students. Sanders was charged with resisting arrest and found guilty. He was given a $25 fine, the publication said, citing archival reports about the protests.  

His campaign also confirmed to The New York Times on Friday that a video released this week showing a young man being arrested is of Sanders. According to the Times, Kartemquin Films uploaded the video. Devine told the Times that Sanders recalls owning a watch similar to the one the man in the video was wearing. The video was shot by Jerry Temaner, one of the co-founders of the film company. 

The presidential hopeful and his rival in the race, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are in an intense battle to win over black voters. Clinton and her supporters have called Sanders a “single-issue candidate,” saying that he focuses too much on economic issues and doesn’t have an effective racial injustice plan. They’ve also questioned his history of civil rights advocacy, with Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the movement, saying he never met Sanders but didn’t mean to “disparage his activism.”