Frank “Nitty” Sensabaugh’s quest for racial equality began long before he and at least 40 other activists began a march from Wisconsin to Washington, DC, which took them through that region.
Sensabaugh’s group had a member shot this week in at least two confrontations as they passed through Bedford County.
He has become a public face of a Milwaukee movement that has targeted justice, police reform, and change in recent years.
This Black Lives Matter-related mission has continued almost daily since George Floyd’s death on May 25, according to reports.
With thick black dreadlocks falling over his shoulders under an oversized angled baseball cap, Sensabaugh, 30, is credited by the Wisconsin media for helping organize a series of marches since late May.
Most of the events were peaceful, but at least one ended in a stalemate that ended with tear gas being fired at his group while they did not disperse.
Each time, he is shown on video leading crowds through communities of Milwaukee or along state highways, calling for change – always with a video camera to capture the moment and serve as another medium. to share his message.
The comment is often directed at police and aired late into the night, according to her group’s live Facebook posts and Milwaukee media reports.
A mural by Sensabaugh decorates a building on 14th Street in his hometown. Graffiti artists had to correct the image at least once after it was disfigured by racial slurs and the word “sexist” in July.
“We live in a world where people are misunderstood and maybe they misunderstood me,” Sensabaugh told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel at the time, insisting he was not angry.
He described his marches as structured – “organized chaos” – with a mission to end generations of injustice.
In June, he told the newspaper he reminds other protesters not to become physically aggressive or touch the police – and often preach peace.
But in his live messages, he also used forceful language about those who signaled they would hinder his movement.
“We are not here to burn down houses or towns. We have come to march – this is what we are going to do, ”he said in a video broadcast live this week following the shooting in Juniata township which injured another activist and is still blighting. ‘under investigation.
“White supremacists … if you point your guns at us, you will die.”
Tear gas in the street
In Milwaukee, Sensabaugh was arrested in June while walking along an interstate highway.
As the group reached the Hoan Bridge in the city, the police passed the group and formed a line to stop their way, ordering them to leave the bridge, which was still open to motor traffic.
After the tear gas was fired, Sensabaugh berated the police and after starting to back up, an officer “rushed him”, he said, while still recording the incident.
No charges were filed against Sensabaugh or the police officer in the incident.
It looks like the rest of his group’s marches in the Midwestern town ended without incident.
This was not the case almost as often away from home.
Sensabaugh announced his planned walk to DC last month in interviews and on Facebook, planning to walk 30 miles a day.
Two weeks ago, he and another organizer were arrested in Indiana state after their group ignored police orders to move their march off a four-lane highway.
The marchers walked along the road, but their motorcade traveled in the right lane of one to four lanes beside them at the same pace.
“You have traffic blocked for 67 miles,” said a police officer, in a moment recorded by the group. “This is a major concern for security. “
The soldier gave the group the opportunity to travel on the shoulder of the road – but they refused, saying their cars protected the walkers from being struck by other cars or objects.
After being handcuffed and taken into custody, they were then released.
‘Use my platform’
Private Joseph Dunsmore said the group never informed them of their intention to cross Pennsylvania until the incident was reported on Monday.
A second incident occurred the following night when a man traveling in a van walked past them and fired shots before fleeing.
The shooter of this incident, Jeremy Decker, of Everett, faces a list of charges, including illegal possession of weapons.
State police said there had been no issues with the Milwaukee group in Pennsylvania until Monday.
On Friday, the group will participate in the 2020 National March on Washington – on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.
“I know this will be one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life … but it felt like it was something I wanted to do and use my platform to. making an impact on the world … and (honoring) one of the greatest black (men) who ever fought for change, ”he said in late July.“ (It’s) a big deal for me.”