Jamala Rogers | St. Louis Public Radio

Jamala Rogers

Longtime St. Louisans (from left) Mike Jones, Jamala Rogers and Virvus Jones joined Wednesday’s show to reflect on the impact of what occurred on April 4, 1968.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Jones remembers being “shocked but not surprised” when he heard that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been murdered.

The assassination of the civil rights leader occurred a half-century ago this week in Memphis, Tennessee, when Jones was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“The forces in America that have been against black progress have always taken black lives,” Jones said during a St. Louis on the Air conversation marking the 50-year anniversary of King’s death. “Black lives have always had less value in America. And men and women who actually fight for that kind of change usually do not live to be old men or old women, so no, you wouldn’t be surprised.”

Jamala Rogers (bottom left) and John Chasnoff (bottom right) after the civilian oversight board they have championed for 30 years received initial approval on April 15, 2015
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would bring more civilian oversight to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is a step closer to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave the measure creating the civilian oversight board initial approval Wednesday on a voice vote. No exact roll call was taken, though some aldermen did object.

Jamala Rogers
Provided by Jamala Rogers

Lately, I can’t help but reflect on a 1968 best-seller book that was widely read and discussed but brought about little change. The book was the infamous Kerner Report.

The book was the published report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967. The seven month study looked at the underlying causes of city uprisings from 1964-1967.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 4, 2012 - Long before most St. Louisans knew about Kwanzaa, paid close attention to gay rights, thought seriously about local control of the St. Louis Police Department or even were willing to consider putting the brakes on capital punishment, Jamala Rogers was working on these issues, mostly at the grass-roots level.

Jamala Rogers
Provided by Jamala Rogers

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Long before most St. Louisans knew about Kwanzaa, paid close attention to gay rights, thought seriously about local control of the St. Louis Police Department or even were willing to consider putting the brakes on capital punishment, Jamala Rogers was working on these issues, mostly at the grass-roots level.

A day after a measure granting St. Louis control of its police department cleared the latest of several legislative hurdles, a broad coalition of politicians, business and community leaders and civil rights activists pledged to help it get through the Missouri Senate.

The message they'll bring? You have to listen to the people.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 13, 2008 - A history-making president at a historic juncture, President-elect Barack Obama has both symbolized and promised change. His election was possible because of the change the nation has already undergone -- and because of the high expectations of even more change his candidacy promised.