The Small Businesses of Ferguson

Protesters protect local business.The story of Ferguson, Missouri began in the 1850s. Back then, enterprising landowner William Ferguson sold a parcel of his farm so the North Missouri Railroad could make a station, and afterwards he sold more land to merchants and families.

Until last Saturday afternoon, Ferguson, which sits ten miles north of St. Louis, was like many other Midwestern towns. The town’s history is threaded throughout with common themes of America–a strong entrepreneurial ethos, endurance, hope, as well as a certain ebbing of fortune when massive forces reshaped the country. What’s called “white flight” struck and took a toll; the deep recession that began in 2008 landed body blows. Ferguson, the population of which is around 20,000, also suffered by being yoked to St. Louis, which did not take part in the urban renaissance of recent decades that revitalized most major American cities.

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