During the process of a long, drawn-out political campaign, the candidates’ pasts are subject to intense scrutiny as the media and the public scramble to ascertain exactly what these ambitious folks did and did not do before seeking office. The past has a mysterious way of bubbling up to the surface in the form of old pictures, audio recordings, documents, and films. For example, the Chicago-based nonprofit Kartemquin Films likely did not set out to comment on the fiercely contested 2016 presidential election when it embarked upon its ’63 Boycott project, dedicated to a momentous 1963 civil rights protest against Chicago Public Schools over the organization’s segregationist policies. Nevertheless, as Kartemquin sifted through the grainy, half-century-old footage, a familiar face seemingly emerged: Vermont senator and current Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.
According to Kartemquin, though the exact nature of the politician’s participation in the civil rights movement has been disputed, Sanders is widely remembered as a student organizer in the early 1960s. An extant Chicago Tribune clipping from 1964 states that, at the age of 21, Sanders was arrested for his role in a protest in the Englewood area of Chicago in the summer of 1963. A dossier of Sanders-related material at Kartemquin’s ’63 Boycott site includes that Tribune article, some vintage black-and-white photographs, and, most intriguingly, what may well be silent footage of Sanders being arrested at a civil rights protest. The flickering images reveal an earnest, dark-haired young man with horn-rimmed glasses scowling as police put him in handcuffs, like a young Rick Moranis gone political.
Witness the alleged Bernie busting below.