TIME Civil Rights

Michael Brown’s Temporary Shrine Will Be Replaced With a Permanent Plaque

Volunteers Cheyenne Green, right, and Derrick Robinson help remove items left at a makeshift memorial to Michael Brown Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.
Jeff Roberson—AP Volunteers Cheyenne Green, right, and Derrick Robinson help remove items left at a makeshift memorial to Michael Brown Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo.

It could be installed as early as Thursday

The city of Ferguson, Mo., removed on Wednesday an improvised shrine for Michael Brown and will have it replaced with a permanent plaque dedicated to the young man’s memory.

The shrine emerged hours after Brown, a young black man, was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. It marks the spot he was killed and features stuffed animals, flowers and candles, which, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will be stored by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son,” said Michael Brown Sr., his father. “We’re just really trying to move forward.”

The present temporary shrine has become a symbol for the “Black Lives Matter” civil rights movement, which was, to a certain degree, sparked by the death of Brown and the ensuing protests in Ferguson.

The new plaque could be installed as early as Thursday.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIME Civil Rights

When Frank Sinatra Took a Stand for Civil Rights in Schools

Frank Sinatra in Gary Indiana
Myron Davis—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Caption from LIFE. Frank pleads for race tolerance with Gary high-schoolers. His main theme was, "No kid is by nature intolerant. It is on the few forms of ignorance which has to be cultivated."

The situation the singer encountered in 1945 still has echoes in the modern world

The new documentary Southern Rites, by filmmaker Gillian Laub (premiering May 18 on HBO), begins as a story about segregated proms in a small town in Georgia called Mt. Vernon. It sounds like something out of America’s distant past, something that would have been outlawed decades ago, but it’s not a historical look at a tradition long since abandoned. Instead, the film offers a contemporary examination of a community that integrated its high school prom just five years ago, in 2010.

Proms like the one in Southern Rites are the holdouts that slipped through the cracks of desegregation. And high school dances aren’t the only examples of events that white and black students have had to attend separately in supposedly integrated schools, if the black students were invited to do them at all.

The roots of these vestiges of segregation, of course, run deep—and one possible cause for their endurance, one suggested by Southern Rites, can be found in an anecdote from Gary, Ind., a decade before school segregation became illegal in 1954.

Gary in 1945 was a relatively diverse community, owing to job opportunities at the steel mill that served as the city’s economic engine. But at one local school, Froebel High School, efforts at desegregation were met with great resistance. When a new principal began integrating extracurricular activities like student government, the school orchestra and use of the swimming pool, a group of white students went on strike from their classes.

In an attempt to deescalate tensions, the school invited Frank Sinatra to offer a performance and words of wisdom—a decision that led LIFE, in November of 1945, to report on the strike and its aftermath.

To the casual observer, “The Voice” may not seem like the obvious voice for this particular occasion, but Sinatra was an advocate for civil rights. He insisted on having integrated backing orchestras and refused to play segregated clubs, though his record was later marred by a 1981 concert in Sun City, South Africa, despite an organized boycott to protest the country’s policy of apartheid.

When he visited Froebel High, Sinatra’s message on the matter was clear. But, though he received raucous applause for his performances, students met his speech with a tepid response. LIFE was quick to point out the source of the students’ resentment: “Goading on these childish grievances were parents who feared competition for their steel-mill jobs from Gary’s increasing Negro population.”

Sinatra seemed to understand well how the seeds of intolerance were planted, and his words echo in Southern Rites, in which pressure from parents contributes to students’ fear of disrupting the status quo. “No kid is by nature intolerant,” he told the packed auditorium. “It is one of the few forms of ignorance which has to be cultivated.” At Froebel, the strike continued. In Mt. Vernon, at least, the tides finally changed.

TIME Civil Rights

This Is What a ‘Perfectly Integrated’ School Looked Like in 1970

As many districts lagged in desegregating public schools, LIFE checked in on one school that seemed to have it figured out

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court decision that declared laws dictating racial segregation of public schools unconstitutional, was handed down on May 17, 1954. But the desegregation mandated by the decision was a slow process fraught with resistance from both local communities and the federal government.

When LIFE revisited school integration in 1970, many districts were divided on the matter of busing students to more distant schools in order to balance the schools’ racial makeup. The Nixon administration was committed to what LIFE called “deliberate gradualism” on the matter, a stance former Office of Civil Rights Chief (and future CIA Director) Leon Panetta decried in an op-ed as a “tragedy.” (Panetta had been ousted from the position for his “too strong enforcement” of desegregation.)

But there were some schools, of course, that made harmonious integration a priority, and Leapwood Elementary School in Los Angeles was one of them. Seven years before LIFE dispatched Ralph Crane to photograph its students, the school had been entirely white. By 1970, it had become, according to LIFE, “one of the few perfectly integrated schools in the Los Angeles area.”

Leapwood was racially balanced not just among white and black students, but also among Hispanic and Asian-American students. Crane’s photographs, only one of which ran in the magazine, offered a hopeful perspective on an issue that would continue to inspire tension and even violence throughout the 1970s and beyond.

The choice of an elementary school as the focus of the story augmented that sense of optimism. From the moment these students showed up for kindergarten, daily interaction with children of all races would not be an adjustment but a given, a hallmark of education in America—or if not nationwide, at least in pockets of it.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Seismologist Inge Lehmann

“You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain"

Inge Lehmann, who discovered that earth has both an inner and outer core, should be inspiration for any young woman with dreams of becoming a scientist, and on Wednesday Google honored the pioneering seismologist’s 127th birthday with a new animated Doodle.

Lehmann, born on May 13, 1888, made her discovery by analyzing P-waves (primary waves), a high velocity seismic wave that is the first to be recorded by seismographs because it travels through the earth’s core more quickly.

In 1929 Lehmann was studying a large earthquake near New Zealand and observed that some P-waves seemed to bounce off a boundary. This caused a higher frequency of seismic activity within a “shadow zone.” She attributed the phenomenon to an inner core made of different materials. Proven correct, the shadow zone today called the “Lehmann Discontinuity.”

Lehmann was educated at a progressive school that valued equal treatment between genders. But when her professional career took off she often faced discrimination for being a woman, once being quoted as saying, “You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain.”

Be that as it may, the pioneering scientist left her mark by making one of the most important seismological discoveries of all time.

She died on Feb. 21, 1993, at the age of 105.

TIME Music

Pedestrian Signals in Vienna Are Getting a LGBT-Friendly Makeover

A combination of photos shows gay-themed traffic lights in Vienna May 11, 2015.
Heinz-Peter Bader—Reuters A combination of photos shows gay-themed traffic lights in Vienna May 11, 2015.

That can mean only one thing: the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Austrian capital Vienna is gearing up to host the 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest — which has developed a large LGBT following —by refurbishing pedestrian signal lights at road crossings to feature gay-friendly symbols.

The updated lights will now tell pedestrians not to walk by flashing outlines of same-sex couples standing with their arms around one another or holding hands. A gay couple walking beneath a love heart tells pedestrians that it is safe to cross.

A city official told Reuters that Vienna hopes to present itself as an open-minded city ahead of the event.

The city also believes the move might help with traffic safety because the unconventional signals will make pedestrians look twice. Officials plan on collecting data to see if the hypothesis holds true.

The Eurovision Song Contest has launched the careers of pop icons Celine Dion and ABBA, among others. Last year’s winner was Conchita Wurst, a drag queen portrayed by Austrian Thomas Neuwirth. Wurst’s song “Rise Like a Pheonix” now boasts nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

Around 40 countries are competing in this year’s event with the final being held on May 23.

TIME Television

What Game of Thrones Can Learn From American History

Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan—HBO Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen on 'Game of Thrones'

What Khaleesi and Abraham Lincoln have in common

Contains minor spoilers for the fifth episode of Game of Thrones Season 5

The region once seemed wealthy and relatively peaceful, but that façade of prosperity was built on the backs of slaves. Those who traded in human lives, though vastly outnumbered, held the power and wealth. Though custom and courtliness were valued within the walls of their grand homes, the masters ruled ruthlessly, with sexual and economic exploitation.

Then came an outsider whose mandate they questioned, but whose armies were strong and whose moral code was even stronger. When the fighting stopped, the slaves were free, the economic system was upended, the outsider’s right to rule was no longer up for debate.

And yet it would soon become clear that declaring an end to slavery was only the first step: some of those who had lost power returned as masked vigilantes, determined to put an end to equality, and those who had gained power struggled with how to use it. The well-intentioned leader, bombarded with conflicting advice, searched for the best way forward.

Fans of Game of Thrones will recognize that story as the saga of Slaver’s Bay, where Daenerys, the Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons, rules the unstable former slaving city of Meereen. As it was phrased in the episode that aired May 10, “Though Daenerys maintains her grip on Slaver’s Bay, forces rise against her from within and without. She refuses to leave until the freedom of the former slaves is secure.”

Those more attuned to real history than to fantasy may recognize a very different place: the United States in the years following the Civil War.

The historical period generally referred to as Reconstruction began around 1865 as President Lincoln and his allies confronted the question of what to do with the South after its rebellion ended. Lincoln had said in his second Inaugural address that there would be “malice toward none” when peace arrived, but that would be a difficult pledge to keep. How much revenge would the North exact? What would happen to those who had been slaves? How could the Southern states rejoin the Union, and which part of the government would oversee that process?

The solution that Lincoln devised involved requiring 10% of voters in each of the rebel states to swear an oath of allegiance to the Union, after which the states would be eligible to hold elections and generally not be considered in rebellion anymore. Some people in his own party (the Radical Reconstructionists) wanted more demands placed on the South; some people (like Vice President Andrew Johnson, who became president after Lincoln was assassinated in 1865) wanted fewer.

After Lincoln was dead the Radical Reconstructionists defied Johnson in order to pass the 14th and 15th Amendments, and to establish Republican-controlled governments within the Southern states. African Americans, newly freed, were elected to office, and they worked to improve the educational and social prospects of former slaves.

However, the era now known as Redemption would set back that progress. A financial panic in 1873 and political maneuvering in the 1876 election came to occupy minds in the north, as Southern white Democrats returned to power and began to institute discriminatory laws. Many former slaves became sharecroppers, still bound to the wealthy but through contracts rather than ownership. The Ku Klux Klan was founded during this period, turning fear of change into a violent force for oppression.

The social systems put in place during the Southern Redemption would shape the next century of life in America, with the black codes and Jim Crow laws that were created to get around the law of Reconstruction enduring until the 1960s. The effects of that codified discrimination are still being felt today.

So what does all of this have to do with Game of Thrones?

Daenerys is currently in the Reconstruction phase of her conquest. Like Lincoln, she is only able to bring freedom through military action. Her decision to remain in Meereen and rule, rather than delegating the way she did in Yunkai and Astapor, is like the Radical Reconstructionists’ desire to keep Republican politicians in power in the South; she has seen how those other cities were either destroyed or “redeemed” with the return of the Wise Masters to their old ways.

The Sons of the Harpy, like the KKK, use terror to lash out at those who upset their power structure. Khaleesi’s decision to allow Freedmen to contract their labor—and the argument about reopening the Fighting Pits—calls to mind the economic fate that faced many slaves freed in real life. The arguments among her advisers about how best to deal with a conquered people played out in Congress. She faces the familiar questions of how to balance vengeance via dragon and unity via marriage. (Some Game of Thrones watchers earlier saw a racial parallel as well, in noticing that the oppressed residents of Slaver’s Bay are all darker than Daenerys is).

Game of Thrones is a work of fiction, of course; the cruelty of real slavery cannot be compared to a fantastical depiction. But it believably portrays the dangerous obstacles that exist in the wake of such cruelty. Author George R.R. Martin is conscious of history, and his study of the perils and perks of power is grounded in the way things really work. The show has been praised for its realistic psychology, and here’s proof that such realism isn’t limited to the interpersonal relationships it highlights.

Nobody except the show’s creators knows what Martin, currently working on a sixth volume in the epic series, has planned for Daenerys — and the show is about to get ahead of the books, anyway. But the lessons of history suggest it won’t be an easy road.


A Trip to the National Civil Rights Museum Made Me Aware of My Survivor’s Guilt

The Lorraine Motel, now part of the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tenn.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram—MCT via Getty Images The Lorraine Motel, now part of the National Civil Rights Museum, in Memphis, Tenn.

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

I couldn’t help but succumb to the pain, and not just the regret for what was, but the sadness for what still is


Is it possible to experience survivor’s guilt for a travesty that took place decades before your time? I ask because I am plagued with the feeling on a regular basis.

During the weekend of Freddy Gray’s death, I embarked on a family vacation that prompted a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. That visit made me aware of the recurring guilt I feel for being black in America and going through life complacently while millions have died just so that I can live.

My experience at the museum most certainly was not the first time I’ve dealt with such looming pain and regret for the tribulations endured by those before me. In fact, I often feel it when I’m confronted with the horrid facts of the past in which American society chose to see African-Americans as subhuman, therefore proceeding to treat them as such. Movies, autobiographies, news clips, historical documents, or simple conversations have a way of putting me in existential turmoil where I question why I get to live with this freedom when others didn’t, and still don’t.

As a black female, my life takes place pretty uneventfully. I sit at the front of a public bus nearly every day on my way to work, I am openly affectionate with my white partner in public, I get to rant about the status quo and government blunders without fear of repercussion from white listeners, and I’ve held managerial positions that have allowed me to delegate work to all races and creeds. And yet, I still can’t help but fall into feelings of despair and depression when I think of the surfeit of people who had to die just so I could enjoy these seemingly miniscule luxuries.

The National Civil Rights museum is an awe-inspiring experience that every soul should experience. It’s a walk through time during America’s gestation, where social mindsets were incidentally at their most outwardly heinous. Through a series of rooms, visitors of the museum trace the roots of African-Americans. The first room focuses on the arrival of enslaved Africans packed together like rotting fish in a tin can within The Middle Passage, before delving into our political liberation and current ongoing struggles with economic divide based on racism.

Interactive buttons are pushed to detail the individual stories of slaves who fought against the early American system. Phones can be pulled out of sockets for visitors to listen to someone’s recorded personal tales of life under Jim Crow rule. Mementos, artifacts, and documents showcase the systematic elements in place meant to dehumanize and subjugate blacks over the centuries. Clip footage shown on the walls become visual reminders of our daunting past where blacks endured public beatings and humiliation, all because they wanted the freedom to get served at local diners and restaurants.

The museum’s tour ends in the glass-encased Lorraine Motel room where Dr. Martin Luther King spent his final moments before getting shot in the face, ending his life and the hopes of a brighter future for many at the time.

Despite these heartrending relics, The National Museum of Civil Rights captures a feeling of comradery and perseverance in every room. While the trip down memory lane is a brutal one, each room ends on a note of triumph and victory.

Yet, still I couldn’t help but succumb to the pain, and not just the regret for what was, but the sadness for what still is. This was only exacerbated a day later when a television broadcasted the angry rioting faces in Baltimore at the wake of yet another innocent black man killed by authority figures.

Each person of the past who chose to fight against the system in place had it much worse than me. They were willing to lose their lives for the prospect of a better future for blacks. They succeeded in immense ways and I gratefully praise their victories.

But, what am I doing to preserve that? What are we as a society doing to compensate for their struggles? I now have the freedom to be complacent in life and do nothing except gripe about pop culture and social ills online if I want, we all do. But it’s not enough.

The National Civil Rights Museum reminded me what sparks my unquenchable desire to fight for others who don’t receive the same privileges as me. I want to pay it forward and send my condolences to the memories of the past through persistent action because otherwise, what was the point of their deaths? Why should I deserve a life of freedom when someone who was hung for speaking out didn’t get to? What good were their deaths, beatings, shamings, or exclusion of rights if black men are still being killed and incarcerated at alarming rates? Minorities are still underrepresented and their issues are still largely ignored. When authority figures get away unscathed despite having innocent blood on their hands, we as a society are obviously doing something wrong.

Baltimore, Ferguson, and all the underprivileged cities that riot in the face of racial tragedies shouldn’t be viewed as “thugs” riding the wave of anger and creating chaos. Instead, they should be seen for what they are: people who don’t know how to avenge the wrongs of the past time and again and aren’t sure of what else to do.

I understand the rioters. I get the anger. If my friend, family member, or acquaintance is murdered in my area for being black on the wrong day, I can’t guarantee that my level-headed rationale would hold up.

Even though the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death have been charged, we have yet to free our nation of a brutal reality in which the oppressor reminds minorities of their lack of power through violence and death. Similar to Jim Crow days, blacks are expected to accept whatever happens to us and stay in our place, and to not smash windows or throw rocks at cops in retaliation. Nevertheless the rioters want what millions of us, race aside, want: some type of retribution and an end to the pain, torture, and death that exists within the cycle of injustice that continues.

For every unarmed person of color shot by a police officer, for every minority working in terrible low-wage conditions, for every child of color growing up in impoverished areas lacking the basic resources to excel, for every school lacking the funds to provide basic education, for every starving human: I long to take a standing personal interest to fight to end these social and cultural ailments. My need to do so is for those who came before me, who fought for my rights before they could conceive of my existence. If I can’t use what I have to make a difference and continue the fight for justice for all, then I don’t see a point of enjoying a life of liberty.

Quatoyiah Murry wrote this article for xoJane.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Honors Trailblazing Journalist Nellie Bly

As a reporter, she defended the poor and condemned the corrupt

While Jules Verne’s characters went “around the world in 80 days,” Nellie Bly, the pseudonym for journalist Elizabeth Cochrane, broke that record by more than a week, which is one of many reasons Google is celebrating the trailblazing reporter’s 151st birthday on Tuesday with a musical Doodle.

Bly was born in Pittsburgh on May 5, 1864, and it was a scathing “letter to the editor” to protest a misogynistic article that launched her remarkable career. Impressed by the missive’s prose, the editor for the Pittsburg Dispatch offered her a job at the paper — where Cochrane began to use the penname Nellie Bly.

She developed a reputation as a defender of the marginalized, covering slums, conditions for working girls and even getting expelled from Mexico for exposing official corruption.

In 1887, she moved to the New York World and worked under the one and only Joseph Pulitzer. Here she would reach the pinnacle of her career by writing Nellie Bly’s Book: Around the World in Seventy-Two Days. The World printed daily updates of Bly’s adventure and when she completed the final leg back from San Francisco to New York, she was saluted with brass bands and fireworks everywhere she went.

The Google Doodle features a song written by Karen O of the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs and is accompanied by an animation honoring Bly as a civil rights pioneer.

TIME baltimore

Baltimore’s Mayor Under Fire

America 1968 Baltimore Riots 2015 Time Magazine Cover
Photograph by Devin Allen

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake talks to TIME about why Baltimore erupted, her handling of the crisis and the "thugs" comment

Why did Baltimore explode the way it did?

Baltimore has a long and challenging history with issues of trust or mistrust between the community and the police department. You layer that on to an in-custody death. You layer on opportunists who are looking to co-opt the raw emotion of a community for their own benefit. It makes Baltimore vulnerable and so many other places around the country vulnerable.

How would you say you’ve handled this crisis?

I have to focus on running my city, and that’s what I’m doing. When I look in the mirror, I’m very comfortable with who I see. I’m comfortable with how we’ve responded in very, very challenging times.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said he activated the National Guard “30 seconds” after you requested them. Did you get the sense that he was waiting on you?

I got the sense that the governor didn’t have a full understanding of all things that were being put in place. When we are in the midst of dealing with an issue, you have to be very judicious about the use of the National Guard. They’re viewed by the community as a sign of militarization. They’re viewed by many as a sign of escalation of an incident.

Has being a black mayor working alongside a black police commissioner made dealing with this situation any easier?

Do I look like I’m having an easy time? I think it would be hard to take a look at the week that I’ve had to suggest that it’s easier. I can say, for somebody that has grown up in Baltimore and has experienced the pain of loss from the violence that we’ve seen in our streets and has been concerned about my brother and his friends being profiled negatively because they were young black men, I get it.

You found your brother after he was stabbed in a carjacking years ago. Do you see parallels between what happened to him and what happened in the riots?

The kids that did this were the same age of the kids that you saw out there, 15 and 16. And you just–it’s so important that we get this right for our kids that they don’t continue to make these types of devastating mistakes in their life.

But you made comments about “thugs” looting the city and “giving those who wished to destroy space to do that.” Do you regret saying those things now?

I wish I could say that I was a person that never made any mistakes. But I’m not. I’m human. And in the heat of the moment, I said something. I joked and said it was my anger interpreter that was speaking over my shoulder.

But like I said, I’m human. I make mistakes. Hopefully people see that I’m big enough to own ’em. I tried to explain the situation and how–calling the people thugs on that–but on the other thing, I tried to explain a situation and clearly did a poor job. Most of the people sitting in the room understood very clearly what I meant. But sometimes you can have the best of intentions, and I feel pretty decent, like I’m a pretty decent communicator. But you never know how those things–for the people who aren’t in the room, you don’t know how they’re going to be received. And the words that I chose didn’t really reflect my heart and what I meant to say. I would never give space for people to destroy our community.

Read next: The Roots of Baltimore’s Riot

This appears in the May 11, 2015 issue of TIME.
TIME brazil

Over 150 Injured in Teacher-Police Clashes in Brazil

The city's mayor called the scene a "war without precedent"

(RIO DE JANEIRO) — Police unleashed waves of rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades on striking teachers in a southern Brazilian city Wednesday, leaving over 150 people injured.

The police said their action was ignited after a few of the protesters attempted to gain access to a state congressional building where legislators voted to make cuts to teachers’ pension plans, but the authorities’ action was widely criticized as heavy handed.

Live television images showed police firing the non-lethal weapons into tightly packed clusters of striking teachers after some protesters tried to break through police lines around the Parana state congressional building. Water cannons were also used to knock demonstrators back.

A statement on the Curitiba municipal government’s website said at least 150 people were treated for injuries suffered in the melee. The state security secretariat said about 20 police officers were hurt. It was not yet clear how severe any of the injuries were in the action, which appeared to end by nightfall.

Curitiba mayor Gustavo Fruet called the scene a “war without precedent” in the city and labeled it a “tragedy foretold” that he blamed on the security forces, who are under the responsibility of the state government.

The statement on the municipal government’s website said the city’s unarmed municipal guard security officers had formed what was described as a security corridor that allowed the injured striking teachers to reach the city hall building to receive first aid.

The Parana state government, which controls the security forces that clashed with the teachers, said in a statement on its website that it “deeply regrets the acts of confrontation, aggression and vandalism caused this afternoon by protesters” not associated with the striking teachers.

It said masked protesters used stones, fireworks, sticks and iron rods to try to break through the police lines to invade the state congressional building and that they’re “directly responsible for the confrontation.”

The statement added that seven people had been arrested for attacking policemen.

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