Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge

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Ieshia Evans in a flowing dress stands facing a line of police in riot gear, two of whom charge towards her
Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge by Jonathan Bachman

Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge[1] is a photograph of Ieshia Evans, a nurse from Pennsylvania, being arrested by police officers dressed in riot gear during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on 9 July 2016. The protest began in the aftermath of the shooting by police of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The image, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, became a viral phenomenon on social media, described by several media organizations as "iconic", with some comparing the image (and Evans) to the photograph of "Tank Man" in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Background[edit]

At the protest on July 9, 2016, which followed the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and of Philando Castile in Minnesota by police officers, Ieshia Evans was photographed by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters news agency confronting a line of police in riot gear.[2][3][4] The image shows a young woman in a flowing dress standing with her arms crossed facing down a line of heavily armed police while two armored officers rush forward to put her in handcuffs. The photograph became a viral phenomenon on social media.[3][5][6]

Evans was attending her first protest when she was arrested, having traveled to Baton Rouge after seeing news coverage of the shooting of Sterling.[7] She was imprisoned, held overnight and released on the evening of the next day.[8][9]

Cultural impact[edit]

Multiple media organizations described the image as "iconic".[a] The German television channel n-tv described Evans as the "icon" of the protest.[11] Teju Cole, writing for the New York Times Magazine, said that "in spite of, or because of, its simple narrative, Bachman's photograph became an icon. It joined a small group of other images connected to the Black Lives Matter movement", including images of a man throwing a tear gas canister back at police during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, Bree Newsome taking down a Confederate flag at the North Carolina State House, and activist DeRay Mckesson being arrested in Baton Rouge, also while protesting Sterling's death.[5]

The photograph drew comparisons to images of previous civil rights demonstrations as well as the image of "Tank Man" taken during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[3][6][7] Yoni Appelbaum commented for The Atlantic:

There are images that are impossible to forget, searing themselves into our collective consciousness. One man staring down a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square. A high school student attacked by police dogs in Birmingham, Alabama. This is such a photo.[12]

Evans was interviewed by Gayle King for CBS This Morning,[13] and the public radio program Studio 360 later commissioned Tracy K. Smith to write a poem on the subject of the image.[4] The photograph was included in The New York Times' "The Year in Pictures 2016".[2]

Awards[edit]

Bachman's photograph of Evans standing as the two police officers charge towards her was awarded first prize for Contemporary Issues in the 2017 (60th) World Press Photo Contest.[14][15]

Ieshia Evans[edit]

Evans, the subject of the photograph, was 35 at the time it was taken. She is originally from Brooklyn and is a licensed practical nurse in Pennsylvania.[4][6][8]

In December 2016, Evans met Bachman for the first time at a symposium on news photography organized by Reuters and the International Center of Photography.[16]

Evans was named AfroAmerica Network Black Woman of the Year for 2016[17] and was chosen to one of the BBC's 100 Women for that year.[18][19]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See e.g. The Washington Post,[3] Time,[8] and Le Figaro.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taking a stand in Baton Rouge". The Wider Image. Reuters. August 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Chira, Susan. "Sunday Review: The Year In Pictures 2016". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d Miller, Michael E. (July 11, 2016). "'Graceful in the lion's den': Photo of young woman's arrest in Baton Rouge becomes powerful symbol". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ a b c "Unrest in Baton Rouge: Anatomy of a Photo". WNYC. November 10, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Cole, Teju (July 26, 2016). "The Superhero Photographs of the Black Lives Matter Movement". The New York Times Magazine.
  6. ^ a b c Hensley, Nicole (July 11, 2016). "Woman in stunning, viral Baton Rouge protest photo is nurse and mom". New York Daily News.
  7. ^ a b "Woman in Baton Rouge protest photo: 'Silence speaks volumes'". CBS. July 15, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c John, Tara (July 12, 2016). "Baton Rouge Protester From Iconic Photo Identified as Ieshia Evans". Time.
  9. ^ "Revealed: Woman behind this powerful pic". The New Zealand Herald. July 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Mazuet, Julie (July 18, 2016). "La femme de Baton Rouge : l'histoire derrière la photo iconique". Le Figaro (in French).
  11. ^ Lippold, Markus (July 12, 2016). "Iesha Evans wird zur Ikone des Protests" (in German). N-TV.
  12. ^ Appelbaum, Yoni (July 10, 2016). "Notes: A Single Photo From Baton Rouge That's Hard to Forget". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ "Woman in iconic Baton Rouge photo: "We do matter"". CBS. July 14, 2016.
  14. ^ "The 2017 World Press Photo Contest winners are announced". British Journal of Photography. February 13, 2017.
  15. ^ Taylor, Alan (February 13, 2017). "Winners of the 2017 World Press Photo Contest". The Atlantic.
  16. ^ "Highlights of the Reuters and ICP event, 'Iconic in an Instant? One Trillion Images'". Reuters. December 6, 2016.
  17. ^ "Ieshia Evans, AfroAmerica Network Black Woman of 2016". afroamerica.net. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  18. ^ "100 Women 2016: What to look forward to". BBC News.
  19. ^ Bressanin, Anna. "100 Women 2016: It is bigger than me, it is beyond me…" (Video). BBC News.

Further reading[edit]