This protest sign was carried by Larry Miller, a Ferguson resident and community activist. Miller was heavily involved in the demonstrations following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. This sign features “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and “#JusticeforMikeBrown” in black, capital lettering. The sign’s quote, a slogan that emerged during the Ferguson protests, evokes the image of surrender and alludes to the pattern of police violence against unarmed African Americans. The inclusion of a hashtag reflects the importance and influence of social media in the modern social justice movement against police brutality.
The killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer inflamed tensions between Ferguson’s predominantly Black population and the primarily white local law enforcement. After Brown’s death, concerned citizens organized protests against the police department’s racial biases and brutality. The community’s mobilization was met with an increasingly militarized response by the Ferguson Police Department, bringing national and international attention to Missouri. Although protests were initially confined to Ferguson, these demonstrations would soon spread across the country after a grand jury’s refusal to indict Wilson over Brown’s killing. The Ferguson protests, along with Eric Garner’s death in New York City, propelled the Black Lives Matter movement on a national scale. Over the last few years, protests and activism against police brutality have continued in the city and across the state.
Subject: Brown, Michael; Ferguson, Mo.
Contributing Institution: Missouri Historical Society
Accession Number: 2017-030-0003
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