A young black man in sunglasses holds a sign with bold print in full view of the camera: “I AM A MAN.” The word “am” is underlined. The iconic Builder Levy photograph captured during the 1968 wildcat sanitation strike in Memphis, Tennessee, the year Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. A few days ago, people found a second photograph far too similar.
Michael Brown, 18, was walking in his grandmother’s neighborhood in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9 when he was fatally shot by a police officer. A crowd gathered around the site, as did a flock of police cars. The militarized police response to the protests that followed set armored vehicles, tear gas, and rubber bullets against civilians.
For many, the scene in Ferguson looks like something out of the 1960s. Internet users across the country soon began uploading photos of the police response to civil rights protests and photos from Ferguson and comparing them side by side. The similarities are striking, as are the questions they raise.
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— Jackie Summers (@jackfrombkln) August 13, 2014
— Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) August 13, 2014
— Brenna Muncy (@brennamuncy) August 10, 2014