The Soiling of Old Glory
1977 Pulitzer Prize, Spot News Photography, Stanley Foreman, Boston Herald American.
April 6, 1976. At Bostons City Hall, 200 white students demonstrate against plans to bus children to integrate the city's schools.
When Boston Herald American photographer Stanley Forman arrives to cover the rally, he finds that "everything appeared to be over. There had been a Pledge of Allegiance. Suddenly. I saw a group of youngsters. They were mixed racially. There was some pushing and shoving."
Forman spots Theodore Landsmark, executive director of the Contractor's Association of Boston, heading toward City Hall. Landsmark is black; the students are white. Suddenly, "everything started to happen in front of me." The white students attack Landsmark, punching and kicking him.
Through his viewfinder, Forman sees a student running with a flagpole dangling a large American flag. As others in the crowd hold Landsmark, the student strikes him repeatedly with the pole. "I was making pictures of Landsmark being hit, and I saw him going down and rolling over. He was being hit with the flagpole. I switched lenses to get him escaping from the crowd.
Police officers intervene, but not before Forman has recorded the moment that an American flag, symbol of liberty, is used as a weapon of racial hatred.