The Ferguson Report: An Erasure, by Nicole Sealey
Knopf Publishing Group9780593535998
In August 2014, Michael Brown—a young, unarmed Black man—was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. What followed was a period of protests and turmoil, culminating in an extensive report that was filed by the Department of Justice detailing biased policing and court practices in the city. It is a document that exposes the racist policies and procedures that have become commonplace—from disproportionate arrest rates, to flagrant violence directed at the Black community. It is a report that remains as disheartening as it is damning.
Now, award-winning poet Nicole Sealey revisits the investigation in a book that redacts the report, an act of erasure that reimagines the original text as it strips it away. While the full document is visible in the background—weighing heavily on the language Sealey has preserved—it gives shape and disturbing context to what remains.
Illuminating what it means to live in this frightening age, and what it means to bear witness, The Ferguson Report: An Erasureis an engrossing meditation on one of the most important texts of our time.