Photo courtesy Danny Lyon

When Danny Lyon met Bernie Sanders

The photographer sends us the pictures he took of the Democratic Presidential Candidate as a student activist

We're always happy to get an email from Danny Lyon, the great American photographer, credited with inventing what became known as 'the new journalism' back in the 1960s. Lyons photographs of society's outsiders and its dispossessed and downtrodden have become legendary over the years, and he remains to this day a peerless - and fearless - chronicler of human integrity, dignity and resistance. 

He sent us a link to a couple of photographs he took of Democrat contender Bernie Sanders back in the early 1960s when the then student activist was talking at a gathering of students holding a sit in in protest at institutional racism againt black students in Chicago. This is what Danny said:

"In 1962 and the spring of 1963 I was the student photographer at the University of Chicago, making pictures for the yearbook, the Alumni Magazine and the student paper, The Maroon. By the summer of 1962 I had taken my camera  into the deep South, and become the first photographer for SNCC.

"That winter at the University of Chicago, there was a sit-in inside the administration building protesting discrimination against blacks in university owned housing. I went to it with a CORE activist and friend. The sit in was in a crowded hallway, blocking the entrance to the office of Dr. George Beadle, the chancellor.


Photo courtesy Danny Lyon
Photo courtesy Danny Lyon

"I took the photograph of Bernie Sanders speaking to his fellow CORE members at that sit-in. Bob McNamara, a close friend and CORE activist, is in the very corner next to me in the picture. Across the room from me is another campus photographer named Wexler, who taught me how to develop film.

"I photographed Bernie a second time after he got a haircut, as he appeared next to the noble laureate and chancellor Dr. George Beadle. Time Magazine is now claiming it is not Bernie in the picture but someone else. It is Bernie, and it is proof of his very early dedication to justice for African Americans. The CORE sit-in that Bernie helped lead was the first civil rights sit-in to take place in  the North."

Want more Danny Lyon iconic images from an era when people were not afraid to protest? Then you need our books with him: The Seventh Dog, Deep Sea Diver and Conversations With The Dead. And you can read more about Danny and his sterling work over the years at his website which you'll find here