Rev. Morris Hudgins, Senior Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
I have mentioned in worship services that I grew up In Ferguson, Missouri. Several of you have asked me to give my reactions to the tragedy that has occurred and the response of the Ferguson community. First, I want to say how sad this is to see the neighborhood you lived as a child become a place of violence and protest. I can imagine the streets where I played baseball, walked to school and work.
My family moved to Ferguson when I was three and we left when I was thirteen. At that time Ferguson was 90% white. Yes, like most neighborhoods in America, it was segregated. I worked on an organic vegetable farm when I was eleven. I was the only white person except for the owners. All the others came from a black community, Kinlock, adjacent to Ferguson. I learned very early that I was now allowed to go to Kinlock to visit a friend I met at work. The only fear I had was of an aggressive dog I passed on the way to school each day.
When I entered high school, integration began to take place. I witnessed some conflict between the races. My family then moved farther into the suburbs as part of "white flight." I later returned to visit Ferguson as an adult and was quite impressed with the house I lived in as a child. The black family that moved in had improved it.
I did not know the problems that were brewing because the police department and government in Ferguson were primarily white while the population was a majority black. I see this as a lesson for cities across the nation. As an analyst said, “There are Fergusons close by where all of us live.” The keys as we move forward are two-old: integrated neighborhoods and the sharing of power and authority. St. Louis County is learning these lessons and so must all of our cities.