Danny Lyon’s 1962 photograph of future SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), chairman and United States congressman John Lewis ‘taking the knee’ in protest at a swimming pool which did not allow black people in Cairo, Illinois, provides the visual historical background to the NFL athletes’ protests of 2017.

“Not only were John Lewis and the two other demonstrators kneeling, I was kneeling to make the picture,” says Lyon of the image, which became the SNCC poster with the tag line ‘Come Let Us Build A New World Together’. “Years ago in Kansas City I saw a wall-sized mural memorial for Dr King and they had painted a ten-foot-high copy of the other kneeling SNCC worker on the wall,” recalls Lyon.

© Danny Lyon | Magnum Photos

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