I’ve collected front pages from major news events for years. Usually, just a handful stand out. Today, newspapers in nearly every state led with images of both peaceful and destructive protests following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. And today, the collection itself tells a story.
It’s not just Minneapolis. It’s not just the death of George Floyd. People in communities around the country gathered to protest continuing violence against black Americans.
“Time to speak up,” read a sign from one woman in Westerly, Rhode Island.
“Silence is violence,” read a sign held above a crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina.
And in Berkshire, Massachusetts, a 12-year-old in a tie-dye shirt and bandana held a sign that read “America is choking on racism.”
This is all happening as a global pandemic shut life down in many parts of the country, leading to wave after wave of layoffs, furloughs and closures of local newsrooms across the country. And while there are a few Gannett newspapers in this mix, you won’t see many because they devoted Sunday fronts to a network-wide project called “Rebuilding America.”
But, despite what you might see in the national news, not every protest turned destructive as night fell around the country. Many newspapers led with gatherings that stayed peaceful.
You can see them in Alaska, where, under a photo of protests in New York, a small group kneels on a street in Anchorage:
And in Opelika, Alabama:
Kristen Hare covers the business and people of local news for Poynter.org and is the editor of Locally. You can subscribe to her weekly newsletter here. Kristen can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @kristenhare.