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Black Lives Matter: Race, Policing, and Protest


On August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black, unarmed man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, MO.

There were conflicting viewpoints regarding the events leading up to Brown's killing on whether he was surrendering or approaching Wilson. On November 24, 2014, a grand jury did not indict Wilson. Both Mike Brown's death and the grand jury's decision led to protests across the country touching on racial tensions and police brutality.

Police in Ferguson reacted with a militarized response, both immediately following the event and again after non-indictment, exacerbating the unrest. Darren Wilson later resigned from the police force. 

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, a black, unarmed man, was fatally restrained with an apparent chokehold by Daniel Pantaleo, a white police officer, in Staten Island, NY. 

The event was recorded by a bystander. The city medical examiners office ruled Garner's death a homocide. On December 4, 2014, a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo in the death, setting off additional protests in New York City and across the United States.

As of December 2014, protests continue and greater discussion is happening around the country regarding structural racism and violence toward black people by white police.

This guide is meant to serve as a jumping-off point for students and faculty to gain a better understanding of the events related to Mike Brown's and Eric Garner's deaths, the subsequent protests and unrest in Ferguson, New York City, and across the United States. It also collects resources that may be used by Wellesley College faculty to teach Ferguson and related topics in their courses. We will try to keep this guide as up-to-date as we can.

hands up don't shoot sign on bridge gif Black lives matter

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