Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Inspirational courage of black teenager who saved Nazi-tattooed man at KKK march from angry mob (Photos)

This amazing image of humanity and selflessness was taken in Ann Arbor, Michigan, during clashes between the Ku Klux Klan and anti-clan protesters in June 1996. It is an image of a black teenage girl shielding a supposed white supremacist from an angry mob. 

In June 1996 the Klan held a rally outside the city hall with a small group of Klansmen dressed in white robes and hoods. Police dressed in riot gear and armed with tear gas were also present to protect the Klansmen from an estimated 300 people protesting against them. While the peaceful protest was going on, a large crowd of anti-clan protesters spotted a man with an SS tattoo and a confederate flag T-shirt and identified him as a probable Klansman; then a woman with a megaphone shouted, "There's a Klansman in the crowd." In a split second the crowd turned from peaceful protesters into an angry mob baying for blood.
There were shouts of "Kill the Nazi" and the man began to run. But he was knocked to the ground. A group quickly surrounded him, kicking him and hitting him with their placards. Then suddenly a black teenager in the group, 18-year-old Keshia Thomas, separated herself from the mob and threw herself on the man to protect him.

The powerful scene was captured on camera by student photographer Mark Brunner
"She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her," Brummer recently told the BBC. "Who does that in this world?"

Thomas, who was still at high school at the time of the incident, now recalls how something within her caused her to empathize with the man's plight and so she stepped in to endanger her own life and protect someone she didn't even know.
"When they dropped him to the ground, it felt like two angels had lifted my body up and laid me down," she said. Now in her 30s and living in Houston, Texas, Thomas continues to work to break down racial stereotypes every day, but prefers to concentrate on doing simple things rather than grand gestures.

The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being. It can come down to eye contact, or a smile. It doesn't have to be a huge monumental act. The series of photos of Thomas stepping in to protect the unnamed man continues to inspire people to this day. We would all like to be a bit like Keshia, wouldn't we? She didn't think about herself. She just did the right thing.

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