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Black Lives Matter: Race, Policing, and Protest

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Michael Brown & Ferguson

Explore these resources to gain a fuller picture of the shooting death of Michael Brown, the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson and further background about the racial disparities that affect Ferguson, MO and similar towns.

A Work in Progress

This guide is meant to serve as a starting point for students, faculty, and staff to better understand the killings of unarmed black people by police since Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, MO in 2014, and the subsequent protests and unrest that spread from Ferguson to New York City and across the United States. It also offers resources that may be used by Marymount California University faculty to teach Ferguson and related topics in their courses. We will try to keep this guide as up-to-date as we can.

We welcome additions to this research guide. Please email your librarian or

Black Lives Matter at Marymount California University

An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter | Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi

Born out of a social media post, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked discussion about race and inequality across the world. In this spirited conversation with Mia Birdsong, the movement's three founders share what they've learned about leadership and what provides them with hope and inspiration in the face of painful realities. Their advice on how to participate in ensuring freedom for everybody: join something, start something and "sharpen each other, so that we all can rise."

Statistics on Police Shootings in the United States


                                                                                   Michael Brown

Michael Brown

On August 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown, a black, unarmed man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, MO.

There were conflicting viewpoints regarding the events leading up to Brown's killing on whether he was surrendering or approaching Wilson. On November 24, 2014, a grand jury did not indict Wilson. Both Mike Brown's death and the grand jury's decision led to protests across the country touching on racial tensions and police brutality.

Police in Ferguson reacted with a militarized response, both immediately following the event and again after non-indictment, exacerbating the unrest. Darren Wilson later resigned from the police force. 

                                                                                      Eric Garner

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, a black, unarmed man, was fatally restrained with an apparent chokehold by Daniel Pantaleo, a white police officer, in Staten Island, NY. 

The event was recorded by a bystander. The city medical examiners office ruled Garner's death a homicide. On December 4, 2014, a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo in the death, setting off additional protests in New York City and across the United States.

As of December 2014, protests continue and greater discussion is happening around the country regarding structural racism and violence toward black people by white police.

Though these events triggered the Black Lives Matter movement, they are by no means the first extrajudicial killings of people of color by police and others.

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