Aspiring photojournalist Todd Robertson took this picture during a KKK rally in Gainesville, Georgia, on September 5th, 1992. It came close to never being published.
Back at the newspaper office, Robertson was told his photos weren’t worth developing because the staff photographer had come back with plenty of good images from the rally. A photograph of a Klan leader was selected to be the primary shot for the Local section cover.
On his own initiative, Robertson took his film to a local one-hour photo developer and brought a stack of 4×6 prints back to the newspaper office. He was showing the photo of the young boy and the trooper to a few reporters when the managing editor walked by.
“He grabbed it up, walked directly to the photo guy and said, ‘This picture’s running in the paper,’” Robertson says.
The AP picked up the photo and it spread at least as far as Europe. It later won an Associated Press Award. Read the story of the day the photograph was taken, how it has been used since that day, and its resurgence on the internet. Link -via the Presurfer