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How the nearly 50-year-old ‘The Soiling of Old Glory’ continues to make an impact

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It’s been nearly 50 years since the award-winning image “The Soiling of Old Glory” was taken at Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The photo depicts a young white man holding an American flag like a spear, pointed at a young Black man during a desegregation protest in Boston, and captured the nation’s attention with how it captured the racial violence of the 1970s busing crisis.

“What the photo did was to force Bostonians from the region, to hold a mirror up to themselves and to ask themselves, ‘How it was that this horrible thing could have happened to an innocent person who hadn’t provoked anything?’” said Theodore “Ted” Landsmark, the Black man captured in the photograph. “And what it meant, for their own sense of conscience that things had gone to that level.”

On that day, April 5, 1976, Landsmark said he was running late to a meeting at City Hall and wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings when he found himself surrounded by desegregation protesters.

“The whole incident took no more than probably eight or 10 seconds,” Landsmark said.

Continue reading at WGBH.

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