WCCO News in Minneapolis, Minnesota has released old news footage from a teachers strike in 1970, which captured an 11-year-old Prince speaking out for the underpaid teachers.
The footage was found by accident by WCCO managing producer Matt Liddy, who’d been looking at old footage of Minneapolis’ architecture for nostalgia. What he found was a gem of a young Prince speaking out about the teachers’ strike back in April of 1970.
Prince told the reporter the teachers deserved more money for their hard work and “working extra hours.”
“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.”
WCCO shared the footage on Twitter. “PRINCE AT AGE 11: WCCO stumbled upon a priceless film in our archives while looking through footage of the 1970 Minneapolis teachers’ strike. See the journey @Jeff_Wagner4 took to solve a Minnesota music mystery.”
After finding the footage, Liddy needed to confirm it was indeed the Prince Nelson in the news footage. He contacted professional historian, archeologist and Prince uber-fan Kristen Zschomler, who is also a Prince documentarian.
“They called him Skipper,” said Zschomler of Prince. Upon seeing the video footage, the historian was also sure it was the “Purple Rain” singer. “I think that’s him, definitely. Oh my gosh. Yeah, I think that’s definitely Prince,” she said. “This definitely looks like Lincoln Junior High School where he would have been attending school in April of 1970.”
Liddy also looked for another young boy in the video, Ronnie Kitchen. The producer ended up finding an old childhood friend of Kitchen and Prince, Terrance Jackson.
As soon as Jackson laid eyes on the video, he recognized his old friends and was moved to tears. Jackson was a member of Prince’s band, Grand Central, when they were teenagers.
“Oh my God, that’s Kitchen,” said Jackson. “That is Prince! Standing right there with the hat on, right? That’s Skipper! Oh my God! I am like blown away. I’m totally blown away. That’s Prince, aka Skipper to the Northside.’
Jackson shared that Prince had already begun playing the guitar as well as the piano around the same time the news footage was shot. “He was already playing guitar and keys by then, phenomenally,” he revealed.
Prince died on April 21, 2016, in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen. He was 57.