Ferguson: Strikes Close to Home, Even a World Away


Jean Allman, PhD, J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities and director of the Center for the Humanities, Arts & Sciences

Just a week ago, I was sitting in Bolgatanga, in Ghana’s Upper East region, finishing up a little research and listening to the Sunday news bulletin on the BBC World Service. Most of the stories had grown alarmingly predictable over the course of the week: the uncontrolled spread of the Ebola virus in the West African subregion, ISIS aggression in Iraq, the fragile cease-fire in Gaza.

But on Aug. 10, “the top of the news” beamed to northern Ghana by the BBC was not just from the Middle East, or Ukraine, or Liberia. It was from St. Louis: Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man, recently graduated from high school, had been shot dead on Aug. 9 by a white police officer in suburban Ferguson, Mo., in broad daylight.

In the tumult that has followed — vigils and protests, tear gas and military assault weapons, a curfew and a state of emergency enforced by National Guard troops — Ferguson has joined Iraq, Gaza, and Ebola at the top of news bulletins across the globe.

As we prepare for the hectic beginning of another school year, we must not lose sight of the tragic events that have unfolded just ten miles north of us. The Center for the Humanities’ mission calls for us to contribute, in whatever ways we can, to expanding scholarly and community understanding of what has happened in Ferguson and why. How might we serve as a resource in the ongoing quest for justice? What can we bring to the long and difficult struggle to build a just and sustainable peace in our community?

Read full article on Arts & Sciences website


  1. St.louis has been one of the top three cities for crime since I can remember.It is no surprise to me that things situations have come to a head.Really!Why fix or address problems with this city?Democrat officials will just keep getting elected because they promise welfare and a better connection with the black community.St louis hasn’t had a republican mayor since the 60’s.I believe that mixing it up and holding people accountable is the way to push things forward.Other than keeping people on welfare for generationsI don’t see democrats doing much else to help better people at this point.
    Being held accountable, getting a job, and not playing the victim card is a great message and should be presented as the way of the future.

    1. I am soooooooooooooooo TIRED of internet trolls, like yourself, who comment on what they think is best for the black community and in doing so manages to rationalize, justify and minimize the total and complete disregard for black life in this country. For the record, Michael Brown’s death is NOT about welfare or unemployment! I’m willing to go out on a limb here and assume that you are white. I mean, it would only make sense that you are because you’re suggesting that “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” is the way of future. And why? Because, privilege. And you can’t see it. That is why it is so easy for people like you, who were born into a race for whom this country was built to cater to, would think that it’s as simple as getting off your tax dollars and getting a job. Can you tell me where you’d be if you, personally, belonged to a race of people who throughout the history of their existence in this country had to contend with the psychological residue of the history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, unequal segregation, the three-fifth compromise, outward Discrimination, Redlining, and, the more aptly labeled, “Prison Industrial Complex”?
      I’ll wait… But be careful, this is obviously a trick question.

  2. You’re grasping at straws to justify an opinion that you’ve already come to. You are not looking for open dialogue, or asking real questions. That is not honest debate. That is trolling.

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