FACT CHECK: Viral Meme Miscaptions Bernie Sanders Arrest Photo From 1963

Aislinn Murphy | Assistant Managing Editor

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a young Bernie Sanders getting arrested for throwing eggs at black protestors in the 1960s.

Verdict: False

The meme correctly identifies Sanders as the man in the photo but mischaracterizes the scenario in which he got arrested.

Fact Check:

The picture, shared this week by the page Super Elites for Trump, was discovered in The Chicago Tribune’s photography archive during the 2016 presidential election cycle. It does, in fact, show the Vermont senator, then a student at the University of Chicago, getting arrested.

“Bernie identified it himself,” senior campaign advisor Tad Devine told the Tribune at the time. “He looked at it – he actually has his student ID from the University of Chicago in his wallet – and he said, ‘Yes, that indeed is (me).'”

But the meme’s reason for his arrest – throwing eggs at black protestors – doesn’t hold up.

Sanders became very involved in social activism during his time at UChicago. He helped organize a sit-in to protest segregated off-campus housing and served as a student leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, a leading civil rights organization in the 1960s. It doesn’t make sense that he would throw eggs at black protestors, given his opposition to the racial discrimination of that era.

Sanders got arrested during a civil rights demonstration in August 1963 – not 1964, as the image claims – for resisting arrest. He was found guilty, an old Tribune clipping reveals, and fined $25.

According to the clipping, 159 protestors were arrested during demonstrations that summer, held to protest the fact that portable classrooms were being used to accommodate students at overcrowded black schools. Protestors argued that the school district should have been sending some of those students to white schools with open seats.

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Aislinn Murphy

Assistant Managing Editor