Eugene Goodman Is Our Accidental Captain America

The Capitol police officer shouldn’t have almost lost his life to be honored

David Dennis, Jr.
Momentum
Published in
4 min readJan 28, 2021

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Photo illustration; image sources: Pool, Tayfun Coskun/Getty Images, “Captain America: The First Avenger”/Marvel Entertainment

Eugene Goodman saved America. That’s not an exaggeration.

The Capitol Hill officer put his life on the line by weaponizing a White mob’s racism against them. He knew that his Blackness would be the only thing White supremacists focused on. He put himself in the line of that generational rage that has killed so many who look like him. By doing so, he diverted the mob away from members of Congress, saving their lives and preventing a successful coup.

So, yes, Eugene Goodman is a hero.

As a result of his heroics, Goodman was rewarded the duty of protecting Kamala Harris’ life as she was inaugurated as the first Black woman vice president in United States history. The American sign of honor is to have the Black man who survived a White supremacist mob protect a Black woman from the violence that would likely be perpetrated by a racist mob that hates her skin color as much as they hated his. Beyond that, Goodman’s treatment is a reminder of what kind of work Black people have to do to be considered heroes in America, a duty that’s usually tied to our proximity to danger and sacrifice.

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David Dennis, Jr.
Momentum

Level Sr. Writer covering Race, Culture, Politics, TV, Music. Previously: The Undefeated, The Atlantic, Washington Post. Forthcoming book: The Movement Made Us