Thursday, October 2, 2014

This divine time, courtesy of St. Louis American.

Eric E. Vickers
"A generation from now, when America crosses the demographic divide of its minority citizens becoming its majority population, and Ferguson is looked back upon as a pivotal point in race relations, undoubtedly, the coverage of that time by The St. Louis American newspaper will be researched by historians to find the elements then at work in the black community, which helped shape the new America.

Although they may find it curious, the historians will learn that for African Americans, Ferguson marked a divine time, for they will see in The American this penetrating color photo of an older black woman protester in mystical prayer, and also see front page reporting of a prophetic vision about Ferguson from a young black woman hundreds of miles away. 

Looking further into the archives of The American to get a picture of the dynamics that shaped the millennium, historians will see a protest persistence having developed after the spark of the shooting, with an explosion of outrage possible at any point upon almost any provocation. They will see that even the positioning of an African American then by the white powers to command down the black protesters proved fruitless, as they took aim at him.

Instead of seeing an AfricanAmerican commander quelling the dissent, historians will see that continuing and escalating acts of protest were occurring, as they will read about an interstate shutdown effort met by a militarized police force, and learn of the Weekend of Resistance.

At this same period of time, though, historians will observe from reading The American the black community becoming introspective in seeking change and solutions. The historians will see blacks in America then faced with the duality of dealing with violence from police officers and violence within the black community.

The role of the black church during the Ferguson period will certainly be examined by historians to see any similarities with the vanguard role played by the black church during the Civil Rights Movement, and they will note from reading The American that a nationally prominent minister delivered Michael Brown’s eulogy and called for justice.

As they saw during the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties, historians will, through the eyes of The American, see during the Ferguson period whites involved in and identifying with the cause of blacks. They will see through the columns and letters white lawyers having stepped forward to demand changes in the criminal justice system

Yet, despite the good intentions of some whites and corporate benevolence, the historians will have to record that, during the Ferguson period, the racial divide on the issue of criminal justice was vast and deep. They will learn from their research that because of the dealings of white politicians, for black elected officials, Ferguson marked the beginning of a new political era and ideology.

Eric E. Vickers is an attorney, organizer and chief of staff for state Senator Jamilah Nasheed."  Courtesy of St. Louis American.

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