In 1965, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. took a knee during a march in Selma, Ala.
More than 50 years later, the photo has emerged with renewed meaning amid protests by National Football League (NFL) players.
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Over the weekend, several NFL players knelt while the U.S. national anthem played before games. The protest movement, which began when NFL player Colin Kaepernick refused to stand in 2016, gained momentum after U.S. President Donald Trump said any protesting player is a “son of a b*tch” who should be fired.
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Amidst the weekend’s controversy, the civil rights leader’s daughter, Bernice King, took to Twitter to offer a reminder about her father’s plight.
She posted a photo of her father kneeling beside a photo of football players, indicating that not much has changed in America.
The revolutionary leader took a knee while leading a prayer on Feb. 1, 1965 outside the Dallas County Alabama Courthouse, along with several other civil rights marchers.
The march, held over the right to vote, and prayer occurred after the group of about 250 was arrested for parading without a permit.
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Photos of the prayer were also shared on Twitter by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
While King’s gesture was a prayer, kneeling has a long history in black rights movements throughout history, Rinaldo Walcott, the director of the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, explained.
A drawing from the 1780s of an enslaved black man became an emblem of the British abolitionist movement in the 1800s. The image went on to be circulated for years.
“Am I not a man and a brother,” reads a scroll along the bottom of the drawing, which shows the shackled man kneeling.
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“The kneel has been a kneel about articulating the promise and desire of freedom from oppression,” Walcott explained, adding that is what Kaepernick was trying to address.
“Colin Kaepernick began to kneel because he wanted to bring attention to systemic racism,” she said.
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Last year, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, and later explained: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.”
Outside of the NFL, politicians, businessmen and celebrities have been posting photos of themselves kneeling in recent days.
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On Monday, in a gesture of solidarity to NFL players, two members of Congress took a knee on the House floor.
“I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor, I kneel in honor of the First Amendment,” Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said.
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The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Congressman Mark Pocan also knelt down on the floor.
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Walcott says she is a bit hesitant to accept that all those kneeling are doing it for the right cause. The professor explains that while some are displaying genuine solidarity, others — especially NFL businessmen who’ve previously donated to Trump’s election campaign — may be doing it as a business tactic.
“Everybody who is kneeling is not kneeling for the same thing.”
Meanwhile, the president has continued his tirade against the protests. On Tuesday, he took aim at the football league once again on Twitter.
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“Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!” he wrote.
The president also praised those at NFL games booing players, writing: “Great anger.”
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