The woman in the dress: The story behind the ‘iconic’ Black Lives Matter protest photo
The image of an unarmed African-American woman in a flowing dress, calmly standing in front of two officers clad in head-to-toe riot gear, is being hailed as iconic, as tense protests continue in the U.S.
Over the weekend, dozens of protesters were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as Black Lives Matter supporters decried the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling by police officers last week.
But the woman in the dress has become a focal point of the protests – with many social media users attributing her calm, strong demeanour to the strength of the Black Lives Matters movement.
“Look at her posture. She is balanced, powerful, upright and well-grounded with both feet firmly planted on the earth. Look at the line made from the crown of her head to the heels of her feet. She is only protected by the force of her own personal power,” wrote Facebook user Jami West.
“This is a legendary picture. It will be in history and art books from this time.”
The now-famous picture was taken Saturday outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters where demonstrators had formed a blockade.
In an interview with The Atlantic, New Orleans-based photographer Jonathan Bachman – who was covering the protests for Reuters – said he turned to photograph the young woman after hearing her say she was going to be arrested.
“It happened quickly, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to move, and it seemed like she was making her stand. To me it seemed like: ‘You’re going to have to come and get me,’” he told The Atlantic.
“It wasn’t very violent. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t resist, and the police didn’t drag her off.”
WATCH: Police arrest Black Lives Matter protesters in Louisiana for demonstrating on public roads
According to reports, the woman in the dress is Ieshia Evans. She reportedly has a five-year-old son.
“This is my best friend that I have known since we were 8 (20 years now),” wrote Facebook user R. Alex Haynes.
“Her name is Ieshia and she has a 5 year old son. She went to Baton Rouge because she wanted to look her son in the eyes to tell him she fought for his freedom and rights. They haven’t released her as of yet but she’s fine.”
She has since been released from custody, according to Black Lives Matters activist Shaun King.
Bachman said the image represented the peaceful nature of the protests in Louisiana.
On Sunday, some 2,000 people rallied peacefully outside the state’s Capitol building in a protest that State Police Maj. Doug Cain called “very organized and peaceful.”
By Sunday night, a few hundred protesters blocked an on-ramp of Interstate 110 in Baton Rouge. After a lengthy standoff, helmeted police in riot gear moved in, pinning some of the protesters as others fled. Thirty to 40 people were taken into custody.
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