In 1996, something pretty amazing happened in Ann Arbor. Maybe you remember, maybe you don’t. But it basically went something like this.
Seventeen Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, most of them hooded, rallied on the second floor of City Hall. Meanwhile, just outside there were 300 anti-KKK protesters in the street – obviously angry and unhappy to say the least. That’s when one of them spotted a man nearby wearing a Confederate flag shirt, watching the protest. He was not a member of the Klan, though he had an SS tattoo as well. The protesters turned their anger on him and rushed him. Among those protesters was an 18 year old high school girl named Keshia Thomas.
That’s when things went from violent to a kind of heroism I’ve never seen before:
The man is seen running from the protesters in this gripping photo. Just over his shoulder in the USA shirt is Keshia.
The mob caught up to him, surrounded him, and proceeded to kick him and beat him.
That’s when Keshia had enough.
She covered his body with her own, screaming for the mob to stop the violence.
They listened and, in tears, she held the racist man in her arms. The man that hated her for what she looked like, and nothing else.
This is the photo that the whole world was talking about in 1996. And we should be talking about it today too. Keshia’s actions are inspiring.
Days after this took place, when asked about her actions, Keshia said, “I knew what it was like to be hurt. The many times that that happened, I wish someone would have stood up for me. Nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not for an idea.” Keshia never heard from the man after that day, but she said months later, someone walked up to her in a coffee shop and said thanks. When she asked why, he said the man she saved was his father. Everyone needs to be a little more like Keshia. Please share this story with others.
Photos:Mark William Brunner