August 19, 2017 - Memphis, TN: Memphis reacts to the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville and the violence against counter protestors by gathering at the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue.
Today the MLK50: Justice Through Journalism team, like many of you, watched as an unhinged mob of insurrectionists – invited to the nation’s capital by none other than the President of the United States of America – attempted a coup of the federal government.
Congress had convened to accept the state-certified results of the presidential election when the swarm of Trump loyalists descended, climbing up the Capitol walls, tussling with D.C. and Capitol police, who were repeatedly pushed back by people who believe President Trump’s lies. (Vice President Mike Pence would later praise police for their restraint.)
The white domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. House of Representatives, sending congresspeople scampering for cover. They took over Senate chambers. They vandalized property; a Trump supporter broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and was photographed with a foot on her desk. One woman was shot during the rioting and later pronounced dead; NPR reports that the alleged shooter is a Capitol Police officer.
And as we watched, we couldn’t help but note the contrast between how Washington police treated this violent mob of conservatives seeking to undermine democracy and how Memphis police have chosen to interact with peaceful protesters, most of whom are Black, insisting that their humanity be recognized.
MLK50 has covered movement making in Memphis since our inception. Now feels like the right time to share images, taken by MLK50’s visuals director Andrea Morales, from some of those moments.