Viral Vintage Photo Puts Race in Its Proper Perspective

Since the Zimmerman verdict, this 40-year-old picture has gained new significance.
Joseph Crachiola's photo has gone viral since the Zimmerman verdict. (Photo: Joseph Crachiola/Facebook)
Jul 18, 2013· 1 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

On a July day in 1973, photographer Joseph Crachiola was making his way down a side street in the Detroit suburb of Mt. Clemens, Michigan. A group of children who'd seen Crachiola carrying his camera, asked him to take their picture. The lifestyle photographer happily obliged; the photo made it into the local paper, after which it was forgotten about for the next 40 years.

But last week, when the Zimmerman verdict went public, the photographer immediately remembered that photo. He posted it on his Facebook page, and it’s since gone viral, with almost half a million views.

What makes the picture so special is that it shows a group of kids who are old enough to distinguish racial differences but who don't attach any sinister meaning to those differences. And that’s (obviously) a far cry from the current state of American culture.

Crachiola told the Huffington Post, “I simply wanted to make a personal statement, not so much about the trial but about the larger issue of race relations—as well as basic human relations,” he said. “No matter what anybody says, I will always believe that race was a factor in the shooting. Issues of race are part of the American DNA in my opinion.”

And he’s not alone. This morning Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, appeared on CBS’ This Morning. In their interview the parents said that it was clear to them the shooting-death of their son and the trial were racially motivated.

“I think it was obvious that it was a black young person they were looking for,” Fulton said. “Trayvon simply was not that person. Trayvon was not a burglar. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He simply went to the store and was headed back home. For somebody to look at him and perceive him to be a burglar, that is the problem that initiated everything.”