This Day in History

June 17, 1965: Protest for Voting Rights in Jackson, Mississippi

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: Voting Rights, African American, Civil Rights Movements

Photographer Matt Herron described how the police responded to a child holding a U.S. flag while protesting for voting rights.

The boy is Anthony Quin, aged 5. His mother, Mrs. Aylene Quin of McComb, Mississippi, and her children were trying to see Governor Paul Johnson. They wanted to protest against the election of five Congressmen from districts where African Americans were not allowed to vote. Refused admittance, they sat on the steps.

Side entrance to the Governor’s mansion on Capital Street in Jackson on June 17, 1965. Photo by Matt Herron.

The policeman struggling with Anthony is Mississippi Highway Patrolman Hughie Kohler.

As Kohler attempted to confiscate the flag, Mrs. Quin said: “Anthony, don’t let that man take your flag.”

Kohler went berserk, yanking Anthony off his feet.

In the South during the Civil Rights Movement, the U.S. flag was a potent symbol of support for racial integration (and support for federal law).

Southerners who believed in racial segregation displayed Confederate flags instead. People were pulled from their cars by policemen and beaten simply for displaying a U.S. flag on their license plates.

So the simple act of a small child carrying a U. S.  flag represented defiance of Mississippi law and custom.

Herron’s description of the photo is excerpted from an interview on the Telling Their Stories website. See more of Herron’s photos at Take Stock.


Read more: Iconic Photos by Matt HerronThe Confederate Flag: Symbol of Opposition to Civil Rights, and Matt Herron.

Dr. Wayne Anthony Quin died in 2015. Read tributes to his life by Matt Herron and Joyce Ladner at CRMvet.org.

Matt Herron died in 2020. Read a tribute to his life at Teaching for Change.