The history behind Ferguson from the community POV

We all know that Ferguson, MO has double the number of black citizens than white, and that this is due to a deep rooted history of slavery in the south. St.Louis tourism tries to exploit this history, and only the happy endings like the wealthy African-Americans that were able to buy their own land or a black musician creating a specific genre of music, to of course get people to want to come to St. Louis (1). What St.Louis, especially the government, has a hard time admitting is that the true black history within St.Louis is not something to brag about, rather it is something they should be ashamed about.

Now of course, most of the history that is most shameful, like slavery, was well before our time, and you cannot blame the current people in office for their wrongdoings. What they can be blamed for is to this day is taking advantage of the poorer areas of town, which are mainly areas of color, specifically black. The main example of this was pointed out by Jeffery Smith’s article “You can’t understand Ferguson without first understanding these three things: reflections from a former state senator from St.Louis (2).” In this article he goes into the history of the oldest, and first, black town in MO, Kinloch. Today, Kinloch has about 400-500 residents according to the Chief of the Kinloch Fire Protection District, Darran Kelly, and is one of, if not the, poorest community in all of MO. You can see what Kinloch looks like today in the video tour with Darran Kelly here: http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2010/03/a_video_tour_of_kinloch_the_sa.php.

Kinloch, however, was thriving with about 4,000 residents prior to 1980’s, and was filled with middle class citizens. It was created due to surrounding towns having laws that did not allow black citizens to own land, which lasted through the Civil Rights Movement. By the 1980’s, Lambert Airport started buying surrounding land to expand and create an additional runway, this project displaced 80% of the surrounding neighborhood of Kinloch. These residents were forced to move into the other neighborhoods including Ferguson, specifically the Canfield Green apartment complex that Michael Brown lived in. The crazy part is, Lambert never created the second runway, which is why in the video with Darran Kelly the land is leveled and hardly anyone lives there.

A report by Aljazeera America commented on the thoughts of a protester feeling that, “the near-vacant city has long been a symbol of what many African-Americans in north St. Louis County feel is representative of a social and governmental system in which they have little voice and that they say consistently works against them (3).” Another protester said that a lot of the frustration over in Ferguson is due to this sense of displacement for past Kinloch residents, which mirrors the sense of loss black citizens have within our justice and governmental systems because they cannot seem to get anyone to hear their voice. Ferguson is not the only predominantly black town that feels this way, which is why many have risen up and spoken out about the lack of voice the black community has within governmental institutions.

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The history behind Ferguson from the community POV

2nd Week Reflection: Government Stakeholder

It has been over a week since my last post, and so much has changed in Ferguson.  In response to the released statement of the grand jury opposing the indictment of Officer Wilson, crime ensued but much less so.  While searching for articles to utilizer for the Twitter account, I found the media focusing highly on the crime that relayed after the grand jury’s decision and less on the peaceful protests that were in greater masses in comparison to the damages done in Ferguson.  I find it very interesting that many of the media and governmental officials found solace in the Thanksgiving weekend and little media attention was placed on the repercussions of Ferguson at that time.

I am finding it more and more difficult to find sources that still link to our discussion of the Ferguson shooting which saddens me to see that many media sources and governmental officials have already closed the case, despite the possible changes to be pressed against Officer Wilson in the near future.  Thus my group members and I will take a different approach to tackling this gradual lack of attention on Ferguson by taking a step back from the Ferguson shooting to address other events that have occurred in Ferguson, such as the demographics and past police and community relations.

We hope this will draw the remaining supporters of the attention to the Ferguson case and are proud of their continued involvement in this important issue that may define this era.  As for the Twitter feed we have received 12 followers which is a big accomplishment, but have not received any responses or frequent retweets.  We hope to bring attention to this issue closer to home by having a Twitter account made for our class to respond to our Twitter and blog to see if we are successful in bringing not only more attention to this issue but to get a better analysis of the issue.

2nd Week Reflection: Government Stakeholder

Reflections from Media Stakeholders

When we began #The Ferguson Project Four, I don’t think any of us fully realized the implications of Ferguson, and the outrage to come from cities all around the country. As the Media Stakeholder, as well as a concerned citizen, I have been fervently following the news coverage of Ferguson, prior to the shooting, of the shooting, after the shooting, and now after the trial results have finally been announced. I hope that if we keep talking, keep fighting, keep spreading the word, our voices will be so loud that America will not continue to ignore race. This is so much more than about one shooting in Ferguson.

I’ve been struggling with the format of Twitter because there is so much more to say than in 140 characters, and even a blog post can’t do Ferguson justice. My hope for this blog and Twitter account is that we can encourage others to join the discussion and ask questions along with us as we attempt to create a full picture of #Ferguson.

I’ve also struggled because media always aims to remain objective–but it is exactly in this polarized situation where objectivity becomes extremely difficult to achieve. I often felt I had to censor my opinions as I wanted to be more critical of the media. So, I plan on using the blog as a platform for the opinions, thoughts, and reflections that do not fit within the realm of Twitter.

Alan Krawitz of Media Bistro gives the media coverage of the Ferguson shooting a grade of C to C-, critiquing “…coverage that I thought was uneven, at best, with some national reporters even crossing journalistic lines to become advocates, rather than unbiased, objective third-parties.” However, who decides where this line is. At what point is it unethical for journalists to remain “unbiased”? And when does something become “sensationalism,” rather than outrage over the truth? However, media does still play a huge role in helping to expose the racial divides in the U.S., and without the media (and citizen journalists using Twitter or other blogs), I don’t think the #Ferguson protests that occurred yesterday and today would have been possible.

What do you think of the media coverage of #Ferguson? What role should the media play?

Be heard,

Media Stakeholder

Reflections from Media Stakeholders

Stakeholder: Government

This is just a small statement from the student that will represent the Stakeholder as the Government. What my stakeholder will focus on will be primarily obtaining the perspectives of the governmental control from a national to international standpoint of the current events taking place at Ferguson. I will utilize sources mostly from the governmental sources but occasionally media sources as well. Since media sources often filter the perspectives of governmental officials I will primarily use direct quotes from governmental officials. The government is often perceived as concealing essential information about events and not taking into consideration several factors that have impacted communities to make final decisions. As a result we are attempting to see if followers on our Twitter account will be more objective to comments made by my stakeholder over others. I will attempt to make two tweets per day to get the attention of people who are currently following the events taking place at Ferguson.

Currently, it has been difficult to find governmental sources that have direct responses to events from the mayor, governor, and other figures involved with the events taking place at Ferguson. As a result I had to rely on media sources, that are known to edit several portions of governmental figures speeches. My hope is that I am able to find more quotes. I also hope that people are still watching fervently as Ferguson and other regions that suffer from injustices even past today’s verdict of the no-indictment of the officer Wilson. An event like this makes its mark into a social issue only so often that once again brings people’s attention to major issues within society that are still yet fully addressed and resolved. I hope this event is not forgotten and brings more activism to this social concern, so it becomes more than an “event.”

Stakeholder: Government