Music Icon, Prince, during a teachers’ strike in 1970, when he was 11 years old, has been discovered on archival film.
The tape, which displays footage from an April 1970 teachers’ strike, was uncovered by WCCO, a CBS News station in Minnesota.
The 1970 strike film was reconstructed by WCCO to provide context for a strike that occurred last month in Minneapolis. Matt Liddy, the affiliate’s production manager and a Minneapolis native, was intrigued and wanted to see it for himself.
“I grew up in Minneapolis, so all I cared about was looking at cool old buildings from the place I grew up. Did I recognize my old school? Did I recognize any landmarks?” said Liddy in an interview with WCCO.
“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,” said Liddy.
Despite the fact that WCCO had the necessary equipment to hear the voice on the camera, an expert was able to extract audio, showing what the younger Prince stated.
“I think they should get a better education too, because, um … I think they should get some more money ’cause they work, they be working extra hours for us and all that stuff,” said Prince, who at the time would have been known by his full birth name, Prince Rogers Nelson.
Because Prince was not identified in the clip, WCCO had to rely on other sources to confirm his identification. Prince was accompanied by a young man named Ronnie Kitchen, but WCCO was unable to locate him.
WCCO discovered Prince’s fifth-grade yearbook images, which did not help matters. So WCCO enlisted the help of historian Kristen Zschomler, who specializes in Twin Cities real estate and landmarks and is also a Prince fan.
Based on a picture she had of him in sixth grade, Zschomler verified the identity. She also mentioned that the school in the restored video’s background was Lincoln junior high, where Prince was a student at the time.
Zschomler also tracked down Prince’s childhood acquaintances, such as Terrance Jackson, who was a member of Prince’s first band, Grand Central, when the two were adolescents.
“That is Prince! Standing right there with the hat on, right? That’s Skipper! Oh my God,” said Jackson on viewing the footage.
“It’s just amazing to see him, that small, that young, and hear his voice,” said Jackson’s wife, Rhoda, who grew up alongside Prince and Terrance. “That’s Prince, AKA Skipper to the Northside.”
Prince is widely regarded as one of the most successful pop artists of all time. He died in 2016, after selling over 150 million CDs, writing at least 500 published songs, and winning the majority of the major international music awards.