Recently, the NAACP organized a 120-mile march from Ferguson to Jefferson City, the Missouri state capital, where those participating will confront state lawmakers. The NAACP has called the march the Journey for Justice. A group of 250 activists started the trek Saturday, marching along the back-roads of eastern and central Missouri. Their seven-day journey made its way through Rosebud Wednesday. The residents of the small community in Gasconade County were waiting on the group of 20 or so protesters walking down the road. (The marchers take shifts throughout the journey.) What the Ferguson demonstrators saw Wednesday reconfirmed that we do not live in a post-racial society.
As the march proceeded through the town, a counter-protest consisting of roughly 200 local residents, almost entirely white, stood by the side of the road. Many of the townspeople had signs declaring their support for former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson or referring to slain teenager Michael Brown as a ‘thug.’ The Ferguson marchers were also verbally assaulted with racial epithets and harsh language.
However, it didn’t just stop there. Along the route of the march, someone left fried chicken, a melon and a 40 ounce bottle of beer, obviously making an overtly racist statement towards the multi-cultural and diverse group of protesters. If that wasn’t bad enough, along the way, the marchers were greeted by a group of men who were gathered by a pickup truck. Flying from the truck was a Confederate flag. One of the men wore a hooded mask as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan.One man was drinking beer the whole time.
One of the activists taking part in the march shot video during this time. Below is the video he uploaded to his YouTube page:
Missourinet sent out the following tweet showing a picture sent from one of the marchers showing the KKK mask and Confederate flag.
— Missourinet (@Missourinet) December 4, 2014
A St. Louis area journalist, Charles Jaco, sent along another picture that was forwarded to Missourinet that showed the image of the fried chicken.
— Charles Jaco (@charlesjaco1) December 4, 2014
Per the Columbia Missourian, one of the buses accompanying the march had a window shot out while it was parked waiting for the group of protesters to finish the leg of the march. Some of the marchers told the paper it felt that the attitudes that they encountered through the march seemed right out of the history books, almost as if it were the same that civil rights activists were greeted with in the 1960s.
The Missourian spoke with one of the counter-protesters to get his opinion. As one would guess, the racism barely stayed contained.
Doug McQuery of Bland, Missouri, wore a T-shirt stating his support for police officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August. The grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson sparked protests, both nonviolent and violent across the country.
McQuery said he thought it was fine if activists wanted to burn down their own town, but said he wasn’t going to stand for that elsewhere. He said he didn’t know the NAACP’s march would be peaceful.
Marchers have said they’ve come across some residents who’ve offered support along the way. However, the even if you don’t count Rosebud, they’ve also encountered many opponents along the march who have thrown out racial slurs and jeered them.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).