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  • In the summer of 1989, Black teenager Yusef Hawkins went with some friends to Bensonhurst, the Little Italy of Brooklyn, to buy a used car.

  • A group of a young white men attacked Hawkins and his friends with baseball bats.

    One of the men had a gun.

    He shot and killed Hawkins.

  • This was one of the many racially-charged incidents that photographer Eli Reed captured during those years.

    In the days that followed, protesters--some of them Black--came to Bensonhurst to express their outrage at Hawkins' murder. They were faced with jeering crowds.

  • Reed also covered Hawkins' funeral in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvestant.

  • Visit PBS Black Culture Connection to read more stories about civil rights photographers and the images that changed the world.

    Photographs and Words by Eli Reed

    Produced by Erika Beras

    Music by Andrew Seistrup

    Share your own story of standing up for something you believe in.

    (A partnership with the Center for Digital Storytelling).

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