Week 12: Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Photographs from #Ferguson

Scott Olson, Gabrielle Walker, 5, protests the killing of Michael Brown, August 17, 2014

Scott Olson, Gabrielle Walker, 5, protests the killing of Michael Brown on August 17, 2014

Last week, we studied Robert Frank’s photographs for his groundbreaking publication, The Americans and next week, we will examine several iconic photographs related to the Vietnam War. These two lessons highlight the important issues of race and protest in American history, concerns that are on the mind of many today and on the forefront of current national news. Scott Olson, a photographer for Getty Images, captured some of the most poignant photographs of the protests that erupted after the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, MO. The phrase “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and the gesture of raising one’s arms in protest have emerged as rallying cries that imitate Michael Brown’s gesture before he was shot by the police officer Darren Wilson, who was not indicted for his actions by a grand jury. This controversial ruling, and this week’s ruling on the death of Eric Garner have inspired a new wave of protests across the nation, including last weekend’s football game on national TV. Hashtags for #Ferguson, #HandsUpDontShoot, #ICantBreath have proliferated across social media. For this Discussion Topic, I would like you to read Scott Olson’s reflections about the photographs he took during the early days of the Ferguson protests, and consider them against the history of Frank’s photographs and the infamous image taken at Kent State by John Filo.

Read about Scott Ferguson’s photographs from Ferguson here.

Please submit your posts by Monday, December 15th.