It’s been 6 months since the killing of Mike Brown, an unarmed St. Louis teen, who was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson, while en route to his grandmother’s house. Brown’s body was left to cook on the summer asphalt for four-and-a-half-hours as hundreds of family, friends, and community members gathered around. In response to his mother Leslie McSpadden’s anguish, an officer told her to “get it together.” That comment set the tone for how Brown’s community would be treated during subsequent days, weeks, and months when they gathered in the streets to mourn and to protest. Police brought out dogs, machine guns, and tanks to residential neighborhoods where they tear gassed and threatened both protesters and media with deadly force.
After seeing George Zimmerman get off for the killing of Trayvon Martin, after watching video of John Crawford being gunned down by police in a Walmart for carrying an unloaded firearm, which was sold by the store, after watching Eric Garner whimper “I Can’t Breathe” during his final moments as an NYPD officer choked him to death, after the countless deaths of so many other Black men and women, Brown’s death awakened a new generation of activism that continues to shape contemporary dialogue about targeted state-sanctioned violence against people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people.
What follows is a timeline of key local and national events that have shaped what many have proclaimed to be a rebirth of civil rights activism, commonly referred to as “Ferguson,” the epicenter of the Black Lives Matter movement:
August 9, 2014
En route to his grandmother’s house, Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year old is killed by Officer Darren Wilson after being pulled over and assaulted for “jaywalking.” Hundreds gather on Canfield Drive in response.
August 10, 2014
One day after Brown is killed, a QuikTrip is set on fire after police threaten and push mourning protesters who have flooded the streets of West Florissant onto the QuikTrip property.
Brown’s parents hold first news conference, asking for justice in their son’s murder.
August 12, 2014
President Obama releases statement calling Mike Brown’s death “heart breaking.”
August 13, 2014
August 14, 2014
August 15, 2014
Darren Wilson is named as Mike Brown’s killer.
August 16, 2014
August 17, 2014
August 18, 2014
August 19, 2014
Kajieme Powell, an unarmed man with mental health issues, is killed by police in St. Louis. According to witnesses, Powell walked into a St. Louis convenience store, where he stole 2 cans of soda and a snack. He then walked outside, laid the items on the ground, and began yelling about Mike Brown. Police shot him on site, then handcuffed him after he died.
August 20, 2014
As protests intensify, police wage death threats on peaceful protestors and media.
August 25, 2014
August 28, 2014
August 29, 2014
Black Lives Matter Freedom Rides bring more than 500 activists from around the country and Canada to Ferguson to join thousands for Labor Day actions and protests.
Pressure Grows for GoFundMe to Stop Its ‘Support Officer Darren Wilson’ Campaign. More than 100,000 protesters agree crowdfunding site should not be profiting from Michael Brown’s death.
August 30, 2014
Labor Day: Protesters stop highway traffic in St. Louis for four-and-a-half minutes, a symbolic tribute to the four-and-a-half hours that Brown’s body spent laying in the August sun, after he was murdered by Darren Wilson. [Video]
September 16, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, testifies in front of the grand jury that Brown hit him in the face with a fist following an exchange between them on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.
September 21, 2014
September 23, 2014
Mike Brown Sr. lays roses at the memorial for his son-Mike Brown Jr. after the makeshift memorial at Canfield was set ablaze.
September 24, 2014
An Ohio grand jury rules there will be no indictment in the death of John Crawford, who was gunned down by police while shopping in a Walmart for carrying a gun sold by the store. Crawford was on the phone with his child’s mother and likely never heard police approaching him. Ohio is an open-carry state.
September 25, 2014
October 4, 2014
October 6, 2014
After a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball supporters and protesters had a chanting battle outside the stadium
October 8, 2014
Vonderrit D. Myers Jr., 18, is killed by a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer who was working for a private security firm in the Shaw neighborhood. Police say the young Black male fired 3 shots at the officer, before the officer returned fire of at least 16 shots. Witnesses say the fatally wounded teen was carrying a sandwich and was unarmed.
October 11, 2014
October 12, 2014
October 25, 2104
As White angst and community tensions rise in preparation for the Grand Jury announcement, an Open Carry march is led in downtown St. Louis, primarily by White men, encouraging citizens to take up arms.
October 26, 2014
November 11, 2014
Brown’s parents testify in front of the United Nations.
November 14, 2014
November 16, 2014
100 days since Brown’s murder. To honor his life, hundreds of protestors stage die-in protest in downtown St. Louis.
November 18, 2014
Ferguson Commission Press Conference: After declaring a preemptive state of emergency in Missouri in advance of the Darren Wilson grand jury announcement, the governor names the members of the newly formed organization
November 20, 2014
November 22, 2014
12-year old Tamir Rice is killed in a playground while holding a toy gun. The officer, who mistook Rice for a 20-year old man, jumped out of a moving car and shot the child within seconds of arriving on the scene.
November 24, 2014
UPDATE: Mike Brown’s Step Father Arrested and Charged with Inciting a Riot
November 25, 2014
November 27, 2014
November 28, 2014
November 30, 2014
December 3, 2014
A New York Grand Jury announces that it will not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, for the chokehold death Eric Garner, a 400-pound, asthmatic, married father of 6, who was harassed, mobbed, and murdered by police in front of a bodega on July 17, 2014, in Staten Island. The grand jury decision comes 10 days after a Clayton, Missouri grand jury announced that it would not indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, for fatally shooting Michael Brown.
Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s wife: “No, I don’t accept his apology.”
December 4, 2014
The nation breaks out in protests against the Grand Jury’s decision not to charge the NYPD officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner. Traffic comes to a standstill in Lower Manhattan on Broadway near City Hall as a result of thousands filling the streets.
December 6, 2014
December 8, 2014
December 11, 2014
December 19, 2014
December 20, 2014
A Black Lives Matter protest fills Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota), chanting ‘no justice, no peace’. The group is part of a national movement to end police brutality against Black people.
Two NYPD Officers are ambushed and killed in Brooklyn, New York. The suspect commits suicide. The head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, makes this statement, “There’s blood on many hands tonight — those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day.” He added, “That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.”
December 22, 2014
December 24, 2014
On Christmas Eve, Antonio Martin is killed by St. Louis police.
Antonio Martin Shooting: Police and Protesters Clash at St Louis Gas Station
December 28, 2014
January 2, 2015
January 9, 2015
January 19, 2015
#ReclaimMLK: Activists Nationwide Follow in MLK’s Footsteps to Protest Racial Injustice:Thousands of protesters around the country engage in #ReclaimMLK protests, to re-frame Dr. Martin Luther King as an action-oriented revolutionary, not the assimilationist that mainstream media has made him out to be. The new front of activism believes in decentralized leadership and disrupting the status quo, by any (peaceful) means necessary.
REV. JESSE JACKSON: A New Generation Reclaims Dr. King’s Legacy: “The new generation has been criticized for its disruptive tactics, for not having a clear message and strategy, for potentially alienating people instead of persuading them with their disruption. But the demonstrators have it right. Nonviolence for King was not passive, not business as usual.”
January 21, 2015
February 9, 2015
On the 6-month anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, thousands have marched around the world to push back against White supremacy, the militarization of police, and state-sanctioned violence. 2015 has been declared the Year of Resistance.
Katina Parker is a filmmaker, photographer, and activist. To follow her documentation work in Ferguson go to www.facebook.com/dontshootsof. To receive updates about her Virtual Freedom School, a space where theory meets action, go to www.facebook.com/virtfreeschool and follow her on Twitter – @katinaparker.