Minnesota news channel WCCO has discovered archival footage of Prince at 11-years-old attending the Minnesota teachers strike in April 1970.
Thanks to archival digging, Minnesota news channel CBS 4 has unearthed footage of 11-year-old Prince. In April 1970, Minneapolis Public School educators went on strike, similar to the district going on strike last month per The New York Times.
Adding context to both strikes that took place 52 years apart, WCCO Production Manager Matt Liddy investigated the 52-year-old footage, where he explored segments of a reporter interviewing kids that attended the strike. One of the kids appeared to be Prince Rodgers Nelson, although he didn’t share his name.
“I 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 every single person [said] ‘Prince,’” Liddy said, according to CBS Minnesota.
In the clip, the soon-to-be pop icon is asked if children in the district are in favor of the strike, to which he said, “Yup.” He then adds, “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.”
CBS Minnesota went on the hunt to confirm if the kid in the clip was, in fact, Prince, contacting Minneapolis-St. Paul historian and longtime Prince fan, Kristen Zschomler. The local historian noted the school featured in the clip was likely Lincoln Junior High School, where Prince would’ve attended at the time. Zschomler also had a photo of the singer, which appeared to be him around the sixth grade, which looked uncanny from the child in the clip.
The historian later connected the reporters with Terrance Jackson, a childhood friend of Prince who was also a former neighbor and a bandmate in Prince’s first band, Grand Central.
“That is Prince! Standing right there with the hat on, right? That’s Skipper! Oh my God!” Ronnie said, referencing Prince’s childhood nickname. “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.”
Zschomler noted the importance of the archival footage being discovered. “I think just seeing Prince as a young child in his neighborhood school, you know, it helps really ground him to that Minneapolis connection,” she said. “Even if they’re momentary glimpses into what Minneapolis meant to him, what he stood up for when he lived in Minneapolis, just helps understand that symbiotic connection he had to his hometown.”