Like many others, I watched in horrified fascination last night as this livestream from Ferguson, Missouri, played out online. (Thanks to Sara Rosenbaum, whose Twitter stream alerted me to it.) With cable news slow off the mark, the amateur footage of police firing rubber bullets at peaceful protesters was all we had.
But live images from a chaotic scene on the ground are no substitute for context and analysis. As we try to make sense of the Michael Brown shooting and the community and police response, I want to call your attention to several pieces that have helped me understand what’s going on:
- “America Is Not for Black People,” by Greg Howard, The Concourse. An impassioned, well-argued essay by an African-American writer. “Michael Brown is not special,” Howard says. “In all its specificity, the 18-year old’s death remains just the most recent example of police officers killing unarmed black men.”
- “Even before Michael Brown’s slaying in Ferguson, racial questions hung over police,” by Wesley Lowery, Carol D. Leonnig and Mark Berman, The Washington Post. Vital background on the racial tensions that preceded this week’s events.
- “In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest,” by Wesley Lowery, The Washington Post. Lowery, a former Boston Globe reporter, was one of at least three journalists who were arrested while trying to do their jobs. Lowery’s story includes video he shot before being taken into custody. (The other two were Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post, arrested along with Lowery, and Ferguson Alderman Antonio French, who’d been posting videos of the unrest.) And make sure you read Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron’s tough statement.
- “Ferguson, Mo., Under Siege After Police Shooting,” The New York Times. An explainer that needs to be fleshed out but that still offers the basics if you’re just catching up.