After the cameras leave, is Ferguson any different?

FERGUSON, Mo. - As thousands gathered in the streets and at St. Louis University for the weekend's last protest, young people challenged those here to think about what happens in Ferguson after the crowds and cameras leave.

A week before the protests we found one young man, 24-year-old Frankie Edwards trying to make a difference.

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Frankie Edwards does outreach work in Ferguson, Mo.
CBS News

"Now we got people after school just hanging on the streets, not doing nothing positive," said Edwards.

Edwards grew up here and says he's trying to spread the word about free services like job training and re-entry programs for felons.

In the Penrose neighborhood the crime rate is 22 percent higher than the rest of St. Louis. Just last week, Edwards' godbrother was murdered.

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Protests fill the streets on October 12, 2014.
CBS News

When asked if the political figures who came to Ferguson following Michael Brown's death had made a difference, Edwards is emphatic.

"No, sir," said Edwards. "No. Where they at now? What have they changed? They don't never come with a solution for a problem."

In Ferguson, 46.9 percent of black men Frankie's age (20-24) are unemployed.

The jobless rate for the city's black males overall is 27.5 percent, four times the national average. For white men here, it's 6.9 percent. And in this town - where seventy percent of the residents are black - five out of six council members are white, as is the mayor.

Rita Days is the director of elections for St. Louis County.

"If these young people truly want to get involved," said Days. "They will register, they will vote, and they will continue to stay involved with the process."

But just 12 percent of Ferguson's eligible voters participated in the last election. And only 4.5 percent of eligible new voters have registered since Michael Brown was killed.

Which might make some wonder if protesters' drumming is the sound of a new drumbeat for change ... or just noise?

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    Vladimir Duthiers is a CBS News correspondent based in New York at the CBS Broadcast Center.