Activist recounts being ‘arrested’ while protesting for desegregation

Activist recounts being 'arrested' while protesting for desegregation

With regard to his background, President Joe Biden has a history of making up stories, some of which PolitiFact has rated as False or as Pants on Fire. During an interview with talk radio host Howard Stern on April 26, Biden revealed to the host that he was imprisoned many years ago while participating in civil rights protests. According to Biden, his mother urged him to accept Barack Obama’s invitation to run as his running mate in 2008 by bringing up the position Biden held at an early age on a civil rights protest that occurred in the Delaware suburb of Lynnfield, close to where Biden’s family was living at the time.

The Call for desegregation

According to Biden, his mother said, “Do you recall when the area of Lynnfield was being desegregated? Remember how I warned you not to go down there and you went down? There was a Black family moving in, and there were people protesting down there. And when you were standing on the porch with a Black family, you came and were arrested? And the cops brought you back? “Yeah, Mom, I remember that,” I said. Biden stated his mother took use of the occasion to emphasize that after all these years, Biden still had the opportunity to assist Obama in becoming the first Black president of the United States

Taking a stand

Speaking in January 2022 at a historically black college and university located in Atlanta, Biden cited civil rights struggles and remarked, “It seems like yesterday was the first time I got arrested.” In 2022, we inquired about the specific arrest that Biden was referring to, and the White House responded by providing us with a link to three speeches that Biden had delivered about a demonstration in Delaware in the 1950s against the selling of a property to a Black couple. Numerous protesters gathered outside the house as police were summoned to it.

A few others were taken into custody, but Biden’s detention is not documented. We assessed Biden’s claim to be untrue. Biden has already made up information regarding his arrest. We gave Biden’s 2020 claim that he was detained in South Africa in the 1970s a Pants on Fire rating. When traveling with African American colleagues, Biden was detained at an airport; however, we were not informed that he had been arrested, and Biden later withdrew that portion of his account.

Facing opposition

We emailed representatives of Biden after the Stern interview to inquire about any other information they might have regarding Biden’s 1950s arrest in Delaware. We didn’t hear back from anybody. 

When Biden was a teenager, he says he was detained for civil rights protests in his neighborhood with a Black family.This arrest is not mentioned in Biden’s memoir. The Wilmington News Journal revealed that the Black family and protestors standing up for them were not the ones arrested during the 1959 demonstrations in Biden’s neighborhood, but rather members of the anti-integration throng.
Similar tales of being “arrested” during a senatorial visit to Nelson Mandela in South Africa have been related by Biden.The Washington Post and The New York Times have refuted this assertion, citing no proof that Biden was ever detained in South Africa.
In recent weeks, Biden has made further untrue statements about his background, such as saying he “used to drive an 18-wheeler” and that he has never made $400,000 in a year.Fact-checkers have shown these assertions to be untrue.

The experience of “arrest”

Newspaper stories verify that in 1959, there were demonstrations at two houses close to Biden’s Delaware residence. The main demonstration took place at a Black couple’s house in Collins Park. The real estate broker who had sold the couple’s house was the host of the second protest, which took place in the suburban Carrcroft neighborhood. Google Maps showed that the distance between the Collins Park house and the Biden family’s Lynnfield home was almost nine miles, but the Carrcroft property was only a short stroll away. 

The 17-year-old, who was identified as the “Harold Figgett”‘s son, was one of four persons detained that Saturday on suspicion of juvenile delinquency. At the time, Biden would have been 16 years old. Additionally, seven prior arrests were cited. The protest in Carrcroft did not result in any arrests. Joe Biden has made a mistaken claim that has been fact-checked previously: that he was detained in a civil rights incident is “impossible” to confirm but extremely unlikely.


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