A controversial children’s book about the city of Ferguson and the events that followed Michael Brown‘s death in the summer of 2014, fails to paint a proper portrait, critics say.
Painting for Peace in Ferguson, written by Carol Swartout Klein and John Hendrix, showcases the murals and photos created by residents during the city’s rebuilding efforts. Klein is originally from Ferguson and said she was inspired by the beautiful artwork she saw popping up on damaged walls and buildings throughout the town.
According to a review of the book by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the authors were seeking to spread a message of “hope, healing and unity,” but instead many are saying the book doesn’t do enough to explain the traverse effects surrounding what led to the city’s collapse. Those elements would need to be broken down on an economic, racial, and legislative level.
The intro reads:
In the small town of Ferguson
Some people did things
That were meaner than mean
Some people were mad
Some people were sad
But everyone, everywhere
Felt pretty bad
Sarah Kenzidor, a Ferguson resident and journalist, tweeted a series of tweets saying the book offers a watered down “revisionist history.”
Some say that critiques of the book are too harsh and that we must take a different approach when we explain storied violence to children.
Two years later, after a Department of Justice inquiry uncovered racial disparities and corruption within the Ferguson Police Department and elected officials, Ferguson still struggles to rebuild from the deep-seated roots of injustice following the protests of 2014.