This Day in History

Aug. 9, 2014: Michael Brown Killed by Police

Time Periods: 2001-
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity
Michael Brown

Michael Brown

African American teenager Michael Brown was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown had just graduated from high school and was preparing to enter a program for heating and air conditioning repair at Vatterott College. 

The tragic killing of Michael Brown sparked protests across the nation and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Four years later (August 7, 2018), city council member Wesley Bell won the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor over seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, who had failed to secure an indictment of Wilson. Read “Voters Oust Prosecutor Who Freed Michael Brown’s Killer” on Colorlines.

Michael Brown Protest

Protesters march with a banner listing the names of people killed by law enforcement. Source: Reuters

Learn more about the police shooting of Michael Brown, the protests, and the response by the Department of Justice at Democracy Now!

We also recommend watching “The Making of Ferguson,” with Sherrilyn Ifill and Richard Rothstein, which shows that government actions — such as racially explicit zoning, public housing segregation, and federal requirements for white-only suburbs systematically segregated African Americans — and set the stage for the conditions in Ferguson.

We offer a collection of resources to teach about the history of policing.