31 Photos That Encapsulate The Crisis In Ferguson, Missouri

August 15, 2014

Police Weapon

Police gunning down an unarmed teenager, descending on non-violent protestors with tanks and special-ops forces, streaming tear gas in the eyes of journalists who ask too many questions and arresting those who are simply doing their jobs. Is Ferguson, Missouri our first taste of what a police state in the United States might look like?

The demonstrations and the descent into authoritative madness came days after the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a largely black neighborhood in the outskirts of St. Louis. Brown, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by a police officer following a dispute whose details remain unclear.

On Wednesday, a wide swath of Ferguson residents and those interested in the story–parents and children, religious leaders, political activists and journalists alike–began to congregate along West Florissant Avenue, one of Ferguson’s main streets, to express their opposition to Saturday’s events. St. Louis is one of the most segregated cities in the country, and many participants believe Brown’s killing was yet another act of racially-motivated police brutality. Others marched in protest of the militarization of our nation’s police forces and the seemingly negative relationship between their power and accountability.

Ferguson Arms Up

Things devolved into chaos relatively quickly, as participants began to loot and burn down gas stations, and police officers–yet again–took it upon themselves to restore “order” by over-the-top displays of force and threats of arrest if demonstrators didn’t vacate the premises immediately.

Meanwhile, journalists for publications like The Huffington Post and The Washington Post were arrested after simply doing their jobs–recording footage of police officers, an act which is in fact legal. Al-Jazeera America reporters were later subjected to tear gas while police smashed their cameras and lights.

Ferguson Don't Shoot

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Dirt, Disease, And Death: What Life Was Like During The Dust Bowl

July 27, 2014
Dust Bowl Car Road

A car tries to outrun a massive wall of dust; storms could reach speeds of up to 60 mph Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the 1930s, the Great Plains of the United States had a bad drought. But it wasn’t drought that turned these grasslands into the Dust Bowl. The worst environmental disaster in the history of our nation was caused by man.

Most folks that lived in the Great Plains in the 30s moved there to take advantage of cheap farmland the government offered. Washington wanted wheat and the Plains were grasslands; it seemed to make sense.

The problem was that wheat has a short root system. The hardy prairie grass that the farmers tore out had roots several inches deep, allowing the plant to hang onto the soil when the heavy Plains winds blew as they had for thousands of years. It wasn’t so much a problem of the wheat blowing away, it was that the wheat wasn’t strong enough to keep the topsoil from the mouth of that hungry wind.

Dust Bowl Texas 1935

Dust storm looms over Stratford, Texas Source: Wikipedia

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This July 4th, Thank US Suffrage Movement Leaders For Your Independence

July 4, 2014
Suffrage Movement Banner

National Woman’s Party officers gather for the 1920 Republican National Convention to fight for ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment Source: The Huffington Post

Many influential women paved the way for the Nineteenth Amendment, which became law on August 18, 1920.

Abigail Adams

Back in 1776, Abigail Adams sent a letter to her husband, John Adams, who would later become America’s second president. At the time, he was attending the Continental Congress, where wealthy colonists, all men, were deciding whether or not to declare independence from Great Britain. In the letter, Abigail urges him to allow women a place in the new nation’s government. Yet all the talk of “Oppressions…abuses and usurpations” in the Declaration of Independence did nothing to change the position of women, who were left with few rights, or that of slaves, who had none. It was an inherently unequal society ironically built on the concept of equality.

Suffrage Movement Abigail Adams

A young Abigail Adams Source: About

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The Crazy Evolution Of The American Flag

July 3, 2014

These days, July 4th is all about barbecues, fireworks and a healthy dose of red, white and blue excesses. And as the most well-known symbol of U.S. patriotism, the American flag is often a prominent feature of Fourth of July parades and parties. Yet today’s flag has come a long way since the first design created more than two centuries ago. Here’s an intriguing look at the evolution of the American flag over time.

The American Flag In Its Infancy

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The Jazz And Style Of 1940s Harlem

July 2, 2014

Harlem 1940

1940s Harlem. The Harlem of Malcolm X, of Duke Ellington, of Zora Neale Hurston. Prohibition is over, and African Americans are fighting a war at a time when they are still regarded as second-class citizens. The energy was palpable, as the northwestern corner of Manhattan was a petri dish for creatives, thinkers and activists whose legacy would largely shape the course of African American history in the 20th century.

Fishing For Change During The Great Depression

June 28, 2014

Fishing For Change Great Depression

Three boys scavenge peer down New York City grates for change in 1930. During the first years of the Depression, approximately 250,000 young people were homeless. As this photo suggests, one of the few constants in these kids’ lives was a sense of desperation.