Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Interlude: PFSTL Top Ten, #5. Ferguson

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Photo Flood Saint Louis turns four this August.  This post is a continuation of a countdown to commemorate this exciting milestone.

Since August 9, 2014, Ferguson has been at the center of national attention.  “Ferguson” the idea/movement is undoubtedly the civil rights struggle of this generation, but for a mostly quaint community, that struggle has a long and complicated history – one that exemplifies what African-Americans have faced throughout the region from the start.

Yet, Ferguson is also a happy place.  A town on the border of St. Louis, where generations of families have lived.  A place which sees itself as worth saving; a place which sees this problem as worth solving.

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On our visit, the weather was cold, though things still simmered.  By this point, the daily protests had waned, but people were nonetheless out.  Sirens blared in the distance.  The police that stopped to see what we were up to explained that false emergencies were being called in and that they were tired.  Standing in front of the memorial for Michael Brown, it was impossible to empathize with what the police were going through – easier to justify the resistance, though the burned and shuttered businesses (nowhere near the scale implied by the media) made some manifestations of that difficult to side with.

Simply, this is a community that had failed a child, with deadly force; not just that, but because he was African-American.  As a parent of two black sons, it was emotional to register.

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I don’t doubt that Ferguson will rebuild (and it has rebuilt much).  The town is certainly worthy of preservation.

The future of “Ferguson” the idea though, is a bit less clear.  In some ways, there has been considerable progress, in others, so little.  Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile are testament to this.  Still, the movement (of #Ferguson, of #blacklivesmatter) is certainly worthy of continuing to fight for.  We’ve seen the alternative, and it is well past time for a change.  Complacency is complicity.  Talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, talk to your coworkers, talk to your customers, talk to strangers, and make them understand that equality still needs to be fought for.

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If you are interested in becoming a member, head on over to photofloodstl.org, or visit our page on Facebook and let us know!  As always, it is free to join and free to participate.


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