John Eligon, THE NEW YORK TIMES
FERGUSON, Mo. (The New York Times) — Like many people who dive into small-town politics, James W. Knowles III, the mayor of Ferguson, wanted to tend to life’s everyday concerns when he first ran for elected office years ago: repairing streets, building parks, organizing festivals.
The Ferguson he came to know while growing up here was one in which he went to school alongside black students without a problem, where church activities and community festivals were part of life.
But ever since a white Ferguson police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager eight months ago, Mr. Knowles, who is white, has been thrust into the spotlight in a fiery national debate over race, class and law enforcement.