On Saturday, the NAACP launched an attempt to turn Ferguson, Mo., 2014 into Selma, Al., 1965, says the Christian Science Monitor. Starting from the patch of pavement on which black teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white policeman on Aug. 9, 150 protesters praying and singing hymns began a seven-day, 120-mile march to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City. The goal is to turn Ferguson into a tipping point, as the Selma-to-Montgomery marches did during the the civil rights era. As the anger at the grand jury decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson fades, can Ferguson begin to change America? Protesters have shut down highways as far away as Rhode Island.
The movement appears to be where it was two years ago in Sanford, Fl., where the same groups raised similar issues to protest the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain. This is not how social movements are begun, says the Monitor. They need to connect with and influence officials who hold power in order to sustain themselves and effect change, Rory McVeigh of the Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame told the Wall Street Journal. “It strikes me as one of those issues that can easily fade from the public radar screen unless people are well organized and continue to put the pressure on,” he said. (President Obama meets today with civil-rights leaders to discuss Ferguson, and separately, “how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country.”)