Mississippi, Matt Herron

 

In 1965, at Jackson, Mississippi, Matt Herron took an iconic and ironic image from the civil rights era as a white policeman rips an American flag away from a young black boy, having already confiscated his ‘No More Police Brutality’ sign. Herron remembers the events that surrounded that World Press Photo prize wining photos:

The picture was taken at the side entrance to the Governor’s mansion on Capital Street in Jackson in the summer of 1965. The boy is Anthony Quinn, aged 5. His mother, Mrs. Ailene Quinn of McComb, Mississippi and her children were trying to see Governor Paul Johnson; they wanted to protest aganist the election of five Congressmen from districts where blacks were not allowed to vote. Refused admittance, they sat on the steps. The policeman struggling with Anthony is Mississippi Highway Patrolman Hughie Kohler. As Kohler attempted to confiscate the flag, Mrs. Quinn said: ‘Anthony, don’t let that man take your flag.’ Kohler went berserk, yanking Anthony off his feet.

In the South during the civil rights movement, the American flag was a potent symbol of support for racial integration (and support for federal law). Southerners who believed in racial segregation displayed Confederate flags instead. People were pulled from their cars by policemen and beaten simply for displaying an American flag on their license plates. So the simple act of a small child carrying an American flag represented defiance of Mississippi law and custom.

Anthony and his mother were arrested and hauled off to jail, which was a cattle stockade at the county fairground, since the city jails were already full of protesters. The Quinn protest was organized by COFO (Council of Federated Organizations), an umbrella organization responsible for most civil rights activities in the state. Today Anthony lives in Florida. I believe he is a lawyer. His mother died recently, and when Patrolman Kohler died a number of years ago, his obituary in the Jackson Daily News referred to this photograph and mentioned how Kohler regretted that moment ‘for the rest of his life’.”

18 thoughts on “Mississippi, Matt Herron

  1. […]   In 1965, at Jackson, Mississippi, Matt Herron took an iconic and ironic image from the civil rights era as a white policeman rips an American flag away from a young black boy, having already confiscated his 'No More Police Brutality' sign. Herron remembers the events that surrounded that World Press Photo prize wining photos: The picture was taken at the side entrance to the Governor's mansion on Capital Street in Jackson in the summer of 1965. … Read More […]

  2. This little black boy is now a hero and this policeman is now a perfect shit.
    This is the time and history consecuences, everything ends in the right site.

  3. The question I have is did patrolman Kholer regret it because his cruelty was caught via photographs or that he so shamelessly tried to silence a 5 year old who was just trying to take a stand to racism? I pray it is the latter.

  4. Reblogged this on Menningarmiðlun ehf. and commented:
    Kynþáttafordómar fá á sig margar ljótar myndir. Þessar ljósmyndir sýna okkur hve áhrifamikla sögu fréttaljósmyndarar og lítil börn geta ofið saman. Lögreglumaðurinn varð táknmynd ofbeldis og þöggunar þegar hann reif fána úr höndum fimm ára drengs.

  5. […] A policeman rips the American flag away from 5-year-old Anthony Quinn, having already confiscated his ‘No More Police Brutality’ sign in Jackson, Mississippi (1965). Photograph by Matt Heron. Mrs. Ailene Quinn of McComb, Mississippi and her children were trying to see Governor Paul Johnson; they wanted to protest against the election of five Congressmen from districts where blacks were not allowed to vote. Refused admittance, they sat on the steps. The policeman struggling with Anthony is Mississippi Highway Patrolman Hughie Kohler. As Kohler attempted to confiscate the flag, Mrs. Quinn said: ‘Anthony, don’t let that man take your flag.’ Kohler went berserk, yanking Anthony off his feet. Anthony and his mother were arrested and taken to jail. Story and source […]

  6. I think this is the most remarkable story and what is so beautifully exemplified is the redeeming comment from Kohler who said “I regretted that moment for the rest of my life” .God rest his soul.

    Now…a lifetime has passed since then and yet here in 2016 we seem to be fast tracking back to the ways of 1966 .

    Let’s get it together America ! Love one another as sisters and brothers.

  7. Exactly. The point being that if you try to respect the flag, you can’t win, if you say hey, black people are dying by police at astonishing rates so the flag doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to, freedom and justice for all, you can’t win. Kneeling isn’t the problem. White America is. And I’m white.

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