A Ferguson Syllabus: Reading a Movement
By Darnell L. Moore
August 07, 2015
Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Mike Brown Jr., the 18-year old black teenager who was fatally shot by 28-year old Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown's killing — and the subsequent public display of his lifeless body left bloodied and uncovered on a tiny street before his family and neighbors — was a fulcrum igniting a sustained uprising.
Ferguson, like Brown's name, appeared as hashtags in social media over the last 12 months, building upon a growing outcry for the need for contemporary black protest. Names like #MikeBrown, #RekiaBoyd and #EricGarner and movement themes like #HandsUpDontShoot, #SayHerName and #ICantBreathe signify the same idea: Black lives matter and are worth fighting for, regardless of the reason black people end up opposite a police officer's gun.
This present movement for black lives was catalyzed by people's willingness to fight for black life and well-being. It has also raised the consciousness of so many in the United States and the world as it relates to anti-black racism, police misconduct and other forms of state-sanctioned violence. There are lessons to be learned, especially from the perspectives of the black people who spent many days organizing and demonstrating in the sweltering streets of Ferguson.
Here are some essential readings from several astute activists, journalists and writers that have inspired, angered and challenged readers everywhere this past year. While this is in no way an exhaustive list, the following offers insider and outsider views of Ferguson, pushing all of us to consider the radical spirit and collective beauty illuminated in mass mobilized protests.