Mary Delach Leonard

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by such organizations as the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat (in Illinois) after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.

For 120 years, Ferguson, Mo. -- currently home to 21,203 people -- has been a little city that has grown in good times and evolved in hard times, with little attention from folks outside the St. Louis region.

That changed in a flash of gunfire last Saturday when a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an African-American 18-year-old who was unarmed.