Keshia Thomas (pictured below center), a Black woman who protected a White man at a Ku Klux Klan rally back in 1996, recently recalled her act, according to BBC News.
“I knew what it was like to be hurt,” Thomas said. “The many times that, that happened, I wish someone would have stood up for me.”
Thomas was 18 years old, when Klansmen decided to hold a rally in Ann Arbor, Mich., her hometown. Known for being a heavily liberal and multiracial area, hundreds of residents gathered in a show of force against the group.
Though officers protected the White supremacists with riot gear and protesters were held behind a fence, the rally soon turned hostile. A woman holding a megaphone reportedly noticed a White man among them wearing a confederate T-shirt. She reportedly notified protesters who then proceeded to chase him from the crowd.
Though it’s not known if the man was a Klan member, protesters allegedly yelled, “Kill the Nazi,” before knocking him down. They reportedly began attacking him with wooden sticks from their signs.
For Thomas, the situation had clearly gotten out of hand.
“When people are in a crowd, they are more likely to do things they would never do as an individual. Someone had to step out of the pack and say, ‘This isn’t right.’” she said.Consequently, Thomas threw herself over the man, protecting him from further harm.
Then-student photographer Mark Brunner, who witnessed Thomas’ actions, was amazed.
“She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her,” he said. “Who does that in this world?”