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Time’s Baltimore-themed cover asks how much has changed since 1968

Time magazine's cover this week highlights the question many watching the unrest in Baltimore have asked themselves: how much has really changed for black people in Baltimore, and across the country, since Martin Luther King's death sparked riots in 1968?

Time Magazine's May 1, 2015 cover, featuring a photo by Baltimore resident Devil Allen

Time magazine's May 1, 2015, cover, featuring a photo by Baltimore resident Devin Allen.

The answer, when it comes to economic inequality, residential segregation, and despair over day-to-day racism, is, in many cases, "Not much."

The black-and-white image on Time's cover is of a black man running from a pack of police officers. The photograph is from 2015, after protests broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray the 25-year-old black man who died of a spinal cord injury he suffered while in police custody — but it could easily have been taken 50 years ago.

Equally timeless is the sentiment that sparked the peaceful protests and riots over the past two weeks: that to be a black man in America is to risk your life.

Time explained in the accompanying article how the lingering effects of racism policies still shape Baltimore today:

Baltimore has a history and pattern of racial segregation that began more than a century ago, and its shadows still linger. In 1910, the city adopted a policy mandating that black residents couldn’t live on a block where more than half the residents were white. While the policy was later struck down as unconstitutional, Baltimore remains starkly divided along similar racial lines that originate from those socioeconomic boundaries.

There have been some changes since 1968. For one: the story has reached the cover of Time magazine. A search of the archives reveals that back in 1968, the only African American to grace the cover of the magazine was Aretha Franklin. This week's 1968 cover that year was Hubert Humphrey. And there are no cover mentions of any unrest after Martin Luther King's assassination.

Another indisputable change? The technology that allowed 26-year-old aspiring professional photographer and West Baltimore resident Devin Allen to snap the shot, upload it to Instagram, and see it on the cover of Time magazine the same week.

Allen's original caption for the image seems to answer the publication's question about how much has changed from the perspective of people who live in cities like Baltimore. It reads, simply, "We are sick and tired."