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Reflection Paper

Decent Essays
ugust 9, 2014, Michael Brown’s body laid in the Missouri sun for four hours after being killed by a Ferguson police officer. As his body lay there, I sat in my kitchen packing for freshman move-in with tears of anger streaming down my face. I knew the unarmed Black teen could have been my older brother or a high school friend. What I did not know, was that Brown’s death would be my intellectual and personal catalyst. Just days after Brown’s death, I participated in my first protest. As I walked chanting “Black Lives Matter” through the streets of Atlanta in a crowd of passionate, disillusioned, mourning, energetic comrades, I found my niche. One week later I arrived on Emory University’s Atlanta campus, a world away from the overwhelmingly Black city of Decatur where I grew up. I arrived planning to major in political science, already enrolled in classes that would fuel my hunger to understand institutions and political behavior. Simultaneously, the wake of the Ferguson unrest and the shock of a predominately white institution led me to enroll in an intro to African-American studies class. In that course, I learned that the racial and political uprisings of the 1960s led Black college students to demand Black studies programs, creating the interdisciplinary field that I declared as my second major immediately. In fall 2015, I took a university-wide graduate course called “The Ferguson Movement” focused on the political, economic, and social characteristics of Ferguson, MO.
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