What Shall We Do…..An open letter to Saint Louis

“What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with
us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!” ~Frederick Douglass

 

I remember not too long ago sitting in a monthly staff meeting when one of my co-workers, conveniently nicknamed “The Professor” stood up and quoted the above infamous speech of Frederick Douglass. At the time it was comical and we all broke into an uncontrollable bout of laughter. It was last night as I sat watching local news as reports and videos of the riots taken place in Ferguson, Missouri that this quote made perfect sense. Following the unwarranted shooting death of teen Michael Brown, Jr by a Ferguson Police officer on the afternoon of August 9th, 2014 our city was in an uproar. It was following a peaceful protest and candlelight vigil at the scene of the this tragedy that a riot ensued.

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