The Soiling of Old Glory

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The Soiling of Old Glory, by Stanley Forman.

The Soiling of Old Glory is a Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph taken for the Boston Herald American in 1976 by Stanley Forman.[1]

The photograph depicts a white teenager, Joseph Rakes, about to assault black lawyer and civil-rights activist Ted Landsmark with a flagpole bearing the American flag. It was taken in Boston on April 5, 1976, during one in a series of protests against court-ordered desegregation busing.[1] It ran on the front page of the Herald American the next day, and also appeared in several newspapers across the country.[1] It won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Spot Photography.[2] According to Landsmark, Rakes was swinging the flag at him, not trying to spear him as it appears in the photo, and he narrowly missed. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Masur, Louis P. (2008-04-10). "The Soiling of Old Glory". Slate. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  2. ^ "The Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1977". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Stars and Strife". Retrieved 2011-06-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Louis P. Masur (2008). The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America. Bloomsbury Press.