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Joe Biden's Corn Pop Story refers to a story former Vice President Joe Biden has recounted several times about a time he had an altercation with a gang member named Corn Pop while life guarding at a Wilmington, Delaware pool during the Summer of 1962. The story regained interest in September 2019 when one Root writer claimed in a Twitter thread that the story was fabricated and sensationalized.
In 2008, Joe Biden recounted a story in his autobiography Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics in which he spent the Summer of 1962 life guarding at a predominantly black swimming pool, the Brown-Burton-Winchester Park in Wilmington Delaware. He retold the story in 2017 during a ceremony in which they renamed the pool after him (shown below). Biden recalled the time when he had an altercation with the Romans gang leader named Corn Pop at the pool after calling him Ester Williams (a famous female swimmer at the time) for jumping repeatedly up and down on the diving board. Biden met Corn Pop in the parking lot later prepped with a long chain and apologized to him. They then became friends.
On September 14th, 2019, Root writer Michael Harriot tweeted, "I'm always astounded by the imaginings of white people as it relates to race. Many of them have this fictionalized jigaboo version that is almost alien-like. And one of the greatest examples of this ever is Joe Biden's story about Corn Pop the gangsta." The tweet gained over 15,800 likes and 5,100 retweets in two days (shown below, left). He went on in a thread detailing Biden's story and how he believes that it was sensationalized and false. In one tweet he shares a picture of a census listing in that area saying that "in 1960, Wilmington was 73% white, according to census records" (shown below, right). The tweet garnered over 4,100 likes in two days. Many Twitter users agreed in thinking that Biden's story seem ridiculous and false.
The next day, Twitter user @newsbysamuels tweeted a thread in which he defends Biden's story by saying, "Yes, Corn Pop was a real. Lots of people I spoke with knew him and talked about him, even if they had never met Joe Biden" (shown below). His initial tweet only gather 200 retweets and 400 likes in a day. He goes on to explain the story and its context in the thread:
It is a wrong to compare “gangs” in 1962 to stereotypes of gangs today. They weren’t murderous, drug dealing bangers. They were groups of young kids who gave their cliques, their neighborhoods and themselves nicknames and fought. Corn Pop was a part of a gang named the Romans[…]Also, yes, Wilmington was highly segregated in 1962 and many of the black people who I spoke with did in fact say Joe Biden was the first white person they knew who really listened to them and had a heart for them.
On September 15th, 2019, Twitter user @ddale8 tweeted a picture of William L. "Corn Pop" Morris' 2016 obituary (shown below). The tweet garnered over 7,200 like and 2,900 retweets in a day.
The next day, Heavy reintroduced footage from the rest of 2017 renaming ceremony at the Wilmington Delaware pool in which others reinforce Biden's claims (shown below).