FERGUSON • A plaque and a bronze dove dedicated to Michael Brown Jr. were installed Thursday in the sidewalk near where he was fatally shot by police Aug. 9, taking the place of makeshift memorials of stuffed animals that were removed Wednesday.
The bronze plaque along Canfield Drive bears his birth date, the date he was killed and a depiction of Brown. It also expresses, in verse, the hope of family members that memories of him will be happy ones. It says nothing about what came before, during or after his encounter with Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson.
Further along Canfield, close to where Brown was shot, a bronze dove was also installed in the sidewalk. Brown’s family was involved in the planning of the plaque and dove. Funding was arranged by the family, a Ferguson spokesman said.
The markers replace makeshift memorials of stuffed animals, plastic flowers and candles that appeared in the street and along the road after the shooting. Brown’s father and others removed those items Wednesday to make way for planned repaving of Canfield Drive and because, Michael Brown Sr. said, the memorials had become a safety hazard.
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis took bags full of the items and said it planned to display some in a new branch it is building on the site of the burned QuikTrip in Ferguson. But a social media kerfuffle arose Wednesday night after a Twitter user posted photos of teddy bears, flowers and candles in a trash bin at an Urban League branch. A Post-Dispatch photographer also captured images of the trashed items.
The items in the trash didn’t come from the Brown memorials, despite their distinct similarity to items seen in photos of the memorials, an Urban League spokeswoman insisted Thursday. “What was in the bin last night were actually discarded donated items from another donation that we had,” said Angelia Bills, vice president of communications for the group.
At the Urban League Thursday, volunteers unpacked two dozen bags of mementos. Bills said the items will be professionally cleaned before being displayed.