CRIME

In wake of Ferguson shooting, fresh attention to minority participation in local voting

  • FILE - In this March 6, 2007 file photo, pennies rest on top of the headstone marking Dred Scott's grave on the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to deny Scott his freedom, at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. Pennies are placed on top of the marker to honor Lincoln's role in freeing the slaves. A few miles from where Michael Brown died lies the gravestone of Dred Scott, a slave who unsuccessfully went to the Supreme Court to be recognized as a free American citizen.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this March 6, 2007 file photo, pennies rest on top of the headstone marking Dred Scott's grave on the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to deny Scott his freedom, at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. Pennies are placed on top of the marker to honor Lincoln's role in freeing the slaves. A few miles from where Michael Brown died lies the gravestone of Dred Scott, a slave who unsuccessfully went to the Supreme Court to be recognized as a free American citizen. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, Marurice Brown raises his arms during a public comments portion of a meeting of the Ferguson City Council, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first for the city council after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a city police officer.   Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be a struggle, as it is in this St. Louis suburb.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, Marurice Brown raises his arms during a public comments portion of a meeting of the Ferguson City Council, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first for the city council after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a city police officer. Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be a struggle, as it is in this St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, a line of people wait to speak during a meeting of the Ferguson City Council Tuesday, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first for the city council after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a city police officer.  Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be struggle, as it is in this St. Louis suburb.  (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2014 file photo, a line of people wait to speak during a meeting of the Ferguson City Council Tuesday, in Ferguson, Mo. The meeting was the first for the city council after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a city police officer. Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be struggle, as it is in this St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)  (The Associated Press)

A few miles from the street where Michael Brown died last month in Ferguson, Missouri, lies the grave of Dred Scott.

Scott is the slave who went to the Supreme Court and tried, unsuccessfully, to be recognized as a free American citizen — 157 years ago.

Michael Brown is the unarmed black 18-year-old who was shot to death by a white police officer last month.

Brown's death is raising fresh questions about the extent to which blacks in suburban towns are regarded as full partners by the officials and law enforcers elected largely by and responsive to small segments of the population.

Political participation is increasing on the national level for blacks and Hispanics. On the local level, voting continues to be struggle, as it is in Ferguson.