The #FergusonSyllabus: Required Reading

Here is my latest on Slate, which is about how the recent shooting by police of unarmed teen Mike Brown is affecting (and can affect) higher education, in St. Louis and across the country. Here’s a fun excerpt to get you in the mood for it:

Yes, agree the faculty, we are living history. But what their course plans endeavor to show is that we are always living history—that, in fact, to understand the events in Ferguson is to understand the complex and painful historical context of the region, one permanently stained with the legacy of white supremacy: slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, “redlining” (refusing to grant mortgages to majority-black neighborhoods).  

And it’s not just happening here. The desire among professors and students to explore the context of the Brown shooting has resulted in an informal nationwide movement, in fact, loosely gathered under the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus (begun by Georgetown professor Marcia Chatelain). Participants from a variety of disciplines have offered articles, books, blog posts, videos, and more to help teachers help their students understand what is happening here.

But don’t take my word for it! Or, rather, please take my word for it here.


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