Many people who attended the funeral had no personal connection to Brown at all. Instead, they came because they felt the case meant something to them.
Thousands gathered to say good-bye to Michael Brown at his funeral Monday.
AP Photo/New York Times, Richard Perry, Pool
The service began after 10 a.m. at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. The 2,500-seat building was filled to capacity, and a nearby overflow auditorium was mostly full as well. People came for different reasons, but all of them apparently had been moved by the story of Brown's death, which happened Aug. 9 when he was fatally shot by a police officer.
The service was a lively affair. A series of religious and civic leaders culminating with Al Sharpton delivered fiery sermons on everything from scripture to race to police in America. The calls for change and justice elicited applause, even in the crowded overflow section where white-gloved ushers handed out fans as the temperature rose.
Some of those who attended knew Brown, either as a friend or a family member. Others were high-profile figures, like White House aides or celebrities. But many people had no personal connection to Brown at all. Instead, they came because they felt the case meant something to them. This is what some of them told BuzzFeed:
"It could have been me, you know." —Kyle Blackmon
Blackmon didn't know Brown, but said that he lives just a few minutes from where the shooting happened. Like Brown, Blackmon is a young black man, which made the shooting all the more striking. "This is something that's going to be historical, it's going to be in the history books," Blackmon added. "It's a very sad day."
Jim Dalrymple II
"This needs to stop. It really does." —Debra Clark
Clark, center, is a graduate of Normandy High — the same school from which Brown graduated earlier this year. While waiting to go into the funeral, she criticized police for being quick to draw their guns, and said problems with policing have been going on "for a long, long time. We need justice for this."
Later Monday during the funeral, Sharpton would repeatedly touch on the same topic. In addition to Brown, he cited a recent case in California in which a woman was beaten on the side of a freeway, as well as a case last month in which a New York police officer killed Eric Garner with a chokehold. "America, it's time to deal with policing," Sharpton said to enthusiastic applause.
Jim Dalrymple II