Kartemquin Films

Earlier this week, the Chicago documentary company Kartemquin released some footage from an upcoming film about a series of protests in the city in 1963. Here, a young man who looks similar to Bernie Sanders is shown being arrested. Take a look.

In fact-checking Sanders' civil rights movement participation, Mother Jones uncovered an old Chicago Tribune article that mentions Sanders, then 21, as one of four people arrested and fined during a series of protests in the city.

Sanders is said to have been "arrested Aug. 12 at 74th and Lowe and charged with resisting arrest." He is said to have been "in positions of leadership and engineered the demonstrations." According to Kartemquin, the found footage was shot in August 1963 at a protest occurring at 73rd and Lowe.


There are a lot of photos of young Bernie Sanders and, around that time, Sanders was involved in the civil rights movement in Chicago as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality, but is that enough? A recent Huffington Post article points out CNN, MSNBC, Time, and the Washington Post last week called into question whether or not Sanders was actually the person in several photographs from a sit-in at the University of Chicago. These reports have been refuted, but it's harder to determine whether or not Sanders is the man in this video.

Kartemquin has the right idea. In the blog post discussing the footage, the company ask for help in confirming whether or not it's Sanders who is seen getting arrested. The post's author added in a comment the footage was shot during "an ongoing protest through August that took place on various days. We don’t know which day the footage is from exactly, nor exact dates of the protest, but we’ll try to find out."

Another commenter pointed out that the watch the man in the video is wearing is similar to a watch Sanders is wearing in a photo from the same time period.

Kartemquin Films

A watch, a newspaper report, a video, and Sanders' history as a student activist. It's a good amount of evidence. Here's Shaun King in the Daily News:

This isn't just the random happenstance of a guy who looks eerily similar to Sanders being arrested in some random place that had nothing to do with his proven activism. This is a young man, resisting arrest, on the day Bernie was arrested, where he was arrested, who looks just like every other image we have of Bernie from the time.

Except, as the arrest report in the Tribune shows, 159 people were arrested during these protests. Is that Bernie Sanders? Maybe. But 158 other people, some of whom were likely younger white men wearing watches were also arrested for protesting. Are there any other possibilities? Yes. Someone like Bruce Rappaport, maybe.

Rappaport was thought to be Sanders in a number of photos from the time, with fellow University of Chicago alumni claiming as such to Time magazine. Rappaport died in 2006, but the one photograph we have of him, above, looks much more similar to the man in the footage than any of photos we have of Sanders from the same time period. The alumni who claimed Sanders wasn't in the photos were wrong, the man who took the photos said as much, but the video? That's another story.


David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: david.matthews@fusion.net