Before I went to Ferguson, Mo., to cover the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, a friend who had already been there reporting joked that he was certain that every person in the town had already been interviewed. And sure enough, the media crunch on was intense on West Florissant, the main boulevard that was the site of protests and clashes with the police in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.
During the middle of the workday, it sometimes seemed like there was a 1:1 ratio between protesters and members of the press. The demonstrators typically wouldn’t come out in full force until the day went on; folks were either at work or waiting out the brutal humidity. Later at night, the people on West Florissant would get younger and rowdier, and it was those folks who were at the center of the skirmishes with the police we all saw on television and on social media.
But Ferguson isn’t a very large town. All those flash bangs and tear gas canisters were going off just behind people’s homes or in front of their small businesses. It’s your typical American suburb, and in many ways, it still was, even with all the clamor going on. Photographer Eric Kayne and I walked around the neighborhood chatting with people while they worked or relaxed, enjoying the last few weeks of summer, even as their town had become the most recent locus for Our Ongoing National Conversation on Race.
Scenes From The Ferguson We Didn’t See On TV
Photo credit: Eric Kayne for NPR