1. One of the more surprising aspects of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., following Michael Brown’s shooting on Aug. 9 is the cheerful presence of the “Peace Train.”
The train is an actual tiny working model train, of the kind you might find at a small amusement park, except this one blasts protest songs and serves as a poignant symbol of resistance.
2. The train first showed up on Aug. 14, the same night spirits were briefly lifted by the arrival of Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson. “The mood in the street was jubilant,” Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery told BuzzFeed.
“It was a big party. There were people dancing and singing. There was a guy on a horse. And then there was this peace train.”
3. BuzzFeed’s Adam Serwer spoke to the “conductors” and reports that they’re Ferguson residents and own an amusement company. They said they brought the train down from Atlantic City.
4. Alex Bolton from The Hill reported the train played “Inner City Blues” by Marvin Gaye.
5. The song includes the lyrics, “It makes me wanna holler / And throw up both my hands … Crime is increasing / Trigger-happy policing.”
6. The song’s lyrics and themes echo the common Ferguson protest chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
7. Rapper Talib Kweli got footage of the train playing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” a protest anthem with the lyrics, “Picket lines and picket signs / Don’t punish me with brutality.”
8. Yamiche Alcindor, who’s been reporting from Ferguson for USA Today, captured a Vine of officers asking the train to vacate the protest at one point.
Alcindor told BuzzFeed, “The train was going down the street … and the police stopped the train, walked up to the people, whispered in their ears, and then after that the train left, so it’s pretty clear that the train was told, ‘You need to go’ because people were … getting really excited … and running after the train, but I guess the police thought it was a distraction.”
9. Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times told BuzzFeed, “It was just so bizarre. You’d have people wondering if and when police might hurl tear gas into the crowd, or when things might get out of control, and then you’d just hear this *noise* coming…”
“In a hard week, it was a reliable source of joy out there.”