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    Walt Shakes

    Walter Ude (@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter. He blogs at mymindsnaps.wordpress.com.

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The photo story of an African American girl’s selfless act

1aaIn 1996, something pretty amazing happened in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is the kind of story about courage and kindness that still inspires people today, 17 years later. Wish something similar had happened during Aluu4 attack. Read story below…

Seventeen Knights of White Supremacist Organization, the Ku Klux Klan, held a rally on the second floor of a City Hall in Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 22, 1996, fully clothed in hate robes. And just outside in the street were 300 angry anti-KKK protesters who wanted the KKK to know they weren’t welcome.

In the midst of the protestors, majority black, someone spotted a middle-aged white man wearing a Confederate t-shirt. Through his clothes and “SS” tattoo, it appeared that he was a white supremacist though he was not a member of the Klan. Once his presence was made known, the angry protesters chased him down and began to beat him in the streets, with one yelling “Kill the Nazi”.

Among those protesters was an 18 year old high school girl named Keshia Thomas. That’s when things went from violent to a kind of heroism that will give you goose-bumps.

While there were policeman with gas masks and riot gear protecting the Klansman who wore full garb on the other side of the fence, there was no one protecting the man who chose to stand on the same side as the protestors to observe, while he wore a symbol that represented racism on his shirt.

1abThe man is seen running from the protesters in this gripping photo. Just over his shoulder, in the USA shirt, is Keshia Thomas.

1acThe mob caught up with him, surrounded him, and proceeded to kick him and beat him.

1adThat’s when Keshia had enough.

1aeShe covered his body with her own, screaming for the mob to stop beating him…

1afThey listened and, in tears, she held the racist man in her arms. The man that hated her for the colour of her skin, and nothing else.

6This is the photo that the whole world was talking about in 1996. And we should be talking about it today too. Keshia’s actions are inspiring.
Days after this took place, when asked about her actions, Keshia said, “I knew what it was like to be hurt. The many times that that happened, I wish someone would have stood up for me. Nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not for an idea.”
Keshia never heard from the man after that day, but she said months later, someone walked up to her in a coffee shop and said thanks. When she asked why, he said the man she saved was his father.
Everyone needs to be a little more like Keshia.

Please share this story with others.

Leave a comment


  1. chika

     /  November 5, 2013

    I truly wished someone had done this in Aluu

  2. Excellency

     /  November 5, 2013

    Wow! Selflessness in full glare. How unlike what we have today, someone experiences an ill, & wants others to do same… Respects Keshia…

  3. storm

     /  November 5, 2013

    Its always beautiful seeing kindness. Thank u for this @shakespear. Unfortunately “selflessness” isn’t sth encouraged in naija…we’d rather just just take pictures…mtcheeew

  4. yemie

     /  November 16, 2013

    This story just brings back sad memories of the Aluu incidence. Curiosity kills the cat, they say and that was exactly what happened to me when I had the misfortune of viewing that horrific video. Am still yet to recover from that experience. I just kept wondering why no one saved those boys from the self-righteous savages that cut short their destinies, it’s so disheartening. And to further worsen matters, four of those involved in this dastardly act were set free on bail, a year after. Only in Naija do you hear sob stories such as this.


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