WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders’ wife said Saturday that a recently emerged photo of the now-Vermont senator being arrested after protesting segregated housing in the early 1960s is proof of his advocacy for civil rights.
“I think his opponent is trying to cast him as not having much of a civil rights record,” Jane Sanders told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield on “CNN Newsroom,” referring to Hillary Clinton. “And I think a picture is worth a thousand words.”
“He protested segregated housing at the University of Chicago,” Sanders added. “Yesterday was the first time I saw that photo as well or he did.”
Earlier this week, The Chicago Tribune published a photo from the newspaper’s archives of Sanders being arrested at a 1963 South Side protest.
Much of Sanders’ work was in Chicago, where he worked to desegregate student housing as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality. And Sanders participated in the March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Tribune’s photo comes after questions surfaced about whether a well-publicized photograph showing a man leading a 1962 sit-in at the University of Chicago was Sanders. The campaign has said it is “100% confident” that the sit-in photo does depict Sanders.
The Vermont senator has been battling the suggestion that he does not have a track record of fighting against racial injustice as he and Hillary Clinton compete for South Carolina’s black vote.
Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis recently said he “never saw” Sanders during that time despite Sanders’ work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, before walking back his statement.
“The fact that I did not meet him in the movement does not mean I doubted that Sen. Sanders participated in the Civil Rights Movement, neither was I attempting to disparage his activism,” said Lewis, a Clinton supporter, in a statement. “Thousands sacrificed in the 1960s whose names we will never know, and I have always given honor to their contribution.”