The St Louis city of Ferguson, Missouri, was thrust under an international spotlight last year, after white police office Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
The confrontation launched the Black Lives Matter movement, and saw Ferguson's uneasy relationship between its growing black population and its majority white police force subject to worldwide scrutinty.
So, what part of its history caused the city to erupt into widespread protests when Brown was shot?
St Louis cordoned itself off
A so-called Rust Belt county St Louis cut itself off from outlying areas in 1897. The move sparked an exodus which lasted past 1970, when many white people left the area. The town was left with a poverty-stricken urban centre, surrounded by middle-class suburbs. The black population later moved into the suburban areas.
Segregated housing wasn't outlawed until 1948
The situation was not helped by the fact that St Louis has been one of the nation's most segregated metropolitan areas, according to AlJazeera America, with black people being banned from most St Louis suburbs until the late 1940s.
The city's makeup has changed
Such a history was the backdrop to the dramatic shifts in Ferguson's demographics. In 1990, almost three quarters of Ferguson’s population was white, and 25 percent black. A decade later, the percentage had shifted to 52 percent black and 45 percent white. By 2010, the 21,000-strong population comprised of 67 percent black and 29 percent white.
But, last year, African Americans made up only 5.6 per cent of the police force. And as the black population has only risen relatively recently, African Americans have struggled to secure positions of authority, Jeff Smith, an assistant professor of urban policy at the New School, explained in the New York Times.
Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Ferguson Anniversary Protests
1/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Police take a mug shot of a protester who was detained in Ferguson, Missouri, August 10, 2015. Protesters regrouped in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday evening after a state of emergency was declared, aimed at preventing a repeat of violence the night before on the anniversary of the police shooting of unarmed black man Michael Brown.
2/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
St Louis County police officers arrest an anti-police demonstrator in Ferguson, Missouri August 11, 2015
3/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Protesters march in the rain, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo. Sunday marks one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
4/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, march along West Florrisant Street in a driving rain on August 9, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. There are reports that two people were shot when gun fire broke out during protests later in the evening. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black offenders.
5/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
A St. Louis County police officers respond in an MRAD vehicle after shots were fired during a protest march on August 9, 2015 on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri. Over 50 shots were reportedly exchanged on the day marking the one year anniversary of the death of an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer, throwing America's troubled race relations into harsh relief.
6/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Protesters yell as police form a line across West Florissant Ave., Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, in Ferguson, Mo., before shots were fired near the protest. The one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson began with a march in his honor and ended with a protest that was interrupted by gunfire.
7/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Protesters fall to the ground to take cover after shots were fired in a police-officer involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2015. Two people were shot in the midst of a late-night confrontation between riot police and protesters, after a day of peaceful events commemorating the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer one year ago.
8/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
A white woman holds a black woman as they pray during a rain storm at the site of last year's riots on the one year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2015. Hundreds of people marched, prayed and observed a moment of silence in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, a year to the day after a white police officer shot the unarmed black teenager to death, igniting months of protests and a national debate on race and justice.
9/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
A woman reacts after shots were fired in a police-officer involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2015. Two people were shot in the midst of a late-night confrontation between riot police and protesters, after a day of peaceful events commemorating the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer one year ago.
10/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Police take cover as a barrage of gunfire erupts along West Florrisant Street during a demonstration to mark the 1-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. His death sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and drew nationwide focus on police treatment of black offenders.
11/11 Ferguson Anniversary Protests
Amarion Allen, 11-years-old stands in front of a police line shortly before shots were fired in a police-officer involved shooting in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2015. Two people were shot in the midst of a late-night confrontation between riot police and protesters, after a day of peaceful events commemorating the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer one year ago.
Police officers target black citizens
Compounding this is the fact that St Louis is made up of 90 municipalities with their own authorities and police forces. These in turn secure revenue from traffic tickets and fines - meaning primarily white police officers pull over black people, wrote Smith.
And while the vast majority of stops, searches and arrests were of black people, police were more likely to find contraband on white drivers - 34 percent versus 22 percent.
But it is changing...
Since Brown was killed, steps have been taken to rebalance the power structures in Ferguson, after the government released a highly critical a report on its police and municipal court system, which prompted top city officials to resign.
A new black police chief, city manager, municipal judge have since replaced white leaders, and many new councillors are also black.
Additional reporting by APReuse content