WCCO, a Minnesota-based news channel, has discovered unseen archival footage of iconic musician Prince attending the iconic Minnesota teachers’ strike as an 11-year-old in April 1970.
At the time, the Minneapolis Public school educators union went on strike to protest their lack of school supplies and the ballooning class sizes, among other issues. Many kids attended the strike to support their teachers, and Prince was one of them.
WCCO had dug up the footage as a comparison to the ongoing Minneapolis teachers’ strike before they discovered the iconic moment of Prince.
Read on to find out more about the video.
WCCO Production Investigated The Old Footage
To add some context to the ongoing teacher’s strike, Matt Liddy, the manager of WCCO Production, dug up and investigated the footage from the 1970 strike, which included segments of a reporter interviewing the kids that attended the strike to support their teachers.
Liddy noticed that one kid was eerily similar to musician Prince Rodgers Nelson, but the kid didn’t reveal his name. To be sure he wasn’t assuming the resemblance, Liddy said he “immediately just went out to the newsroom and started showing people and saying, ‘I’m not gonna tell you who I think this is, but who do you think this is?”
And according to what he told CBS Minnesota, “every single person said “Prince.'” It was an unexpected and fantastic coincidence that Liddy would stumble upon footage of a young Prince who later grew up to become one of the most successful musicians in the world.
Prince Advocated For The Strike
In the 52-year-old clip, the interviewer asked Prince if the children in the district are in support of the teacher’s strike, to which he replied, “Yup,” and then added, “I think they should get a better education too cause, um, and I think they should get some more money cause they work, they be working extra hours for us and all that stuff.”
To confirm if Prince was truly the child in the clip, CBS Minnesota went on the hunt and contacted Minneapolis-St. Paul historian and longtime Prince fan Kristen Zschomler. Zschomler analyzed the clip and noted that the school in the background was likely Lincoln Junior High School.
This is the school that Prince likely attended at the time, as it was the popular choice for parents living in the area. The historian also had a photo of Prince around that age, and the resemblance between Prince in the picture and the boy in the footage was uncanny.
Terrance Jackson Confirmed It Was Prince In The Video
Zschomler then connected the station with Terrance Jackson, Prince’s former neighbor and childhood friend. Jackson was also a member of Prince’s first band, Grand Central.
Upon seeing the footage, Jackson said, “That is Prince! Standing right there with the hat on, right? That’s Skipper! Oh my God!. He was already playing guitar and keys by then, phenomenally. Music became our sport. Because he was athletic, I was athletic, but we wanted to compete musically.” Skipper was Prince’s childhood nickname.
Zschomler was super happy about the discovery of the footage and said, “I think just seeing Prince as a young child in his neighborhood school, you know, it helps really ground him to that Minneapolis connection.”
The 1970 Strike Is Similar To The March Strike
The ongoing Minneapolis teachers’ strike is the first since the 1970 strike that Prince attended. According to the New York Times, the strike began on March 8th and caused the closure of many classrooms, sending over 30,000 public school students home to their parents.
The teachers union and school district officials had negotiated for weeks over salaries and resources for teachers and the student’s mental health and failed to reach a resolution by their deadline, prompting the strike.
After almost three weeks of the teachers union refusing to back down, the two unions finally reached a tentative deal recently that might allow the kids to return to their classrooms if the teachers union voted in favor of the deal.
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