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St. Louis History in Black and White

St. Louis Public Radio

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St. Louis History in Black and White

St. Louis History in Black and White

St. Louis Public Radio

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About Us

Interviews with historians, authors, and individuals who were part of the civil rights movement.

Latest Episodes

Growing Up Black in St. Louis

St. Louis has the dubious distinction of being one of the most racially polarized cities in the nation. However, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that many other cities also have had, and still have, problems with race relations.Three black African Americans of separate generations sat down together at the St. Louis History Museum to talk about their experiences growing up black in St. Louis, and their impressions of how the black experience changed for them here over the years. Mariah Richardson is a playwright, actress and teacher. She attended desegregated schools in St. Louis. Donn Johnson is a retired broadcast journalist who grew up on both sides of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Percy Green is a lifelong civil rights activist. He was in the vanguard of the civil rights movement in the late fifties through the early sixties, and ever since, primarily as a civil disobedience strategist.

15 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Growing Up Black in St. Louis

White Perceptions of the St. Louis Racial Divide

In St. Louis, sometimes called one of the, if not the , most racially polarized city in America how do St. Louis whites view racism today? Political scientist Terry Jones of the University of Missouri-St. Louis has studied the issue. Margaret Freivogel, the editor of the St. Louis Beacon online newspaper has edited a comprehensive series of reports on racism in St. Louis. Nikki Weinstein of FOCUS St. Louis represents a civic organization which seeks positive change through developing leadership, influencing policy, and promoting community connections. FOCUS has sponsored a series of studies on racial polarization in St. Louis.

6 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
White Perceptions of the St. Louis Racial Divide

Obama Inauguration Postscript

The historic inauguration of Barack Obama certainly had special meaning for African Americans. After generations of slavery, followed by the Jim Crow era and widespread discrimination and racism, there was, in the black community especially, a feeling special of pride and accomplishment in Obamas election and inauguration. Three St. Louisans went to Washington to witness the historic swearing in on the Mall. Professor Anthony Bradley is a professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis,Journalist Sylvester Brown, and St. Louis Public Radio host Ed Francis sat down to discuss the experience and its meaning.

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Obama Inauguration Postscript

Obama Post Election

When Barack Obama was elected president he acknowledged that the historic election of a black man was only possible by his standing on the shoulders of those who had fought for ending discrimination and racism in previous decades and generations. Among two of the best known of this group in St. Louis were the late Margaret Bush Wilson and activist Norman Seay. She served nine terms as the chairman of the national Board of Directors of the NAACP and was president of the St. Louis chapter. She was a lawyer-activist and assisted her father as he worked on ending housing discrimination. His work led to the famous 1948 Shelley vs. Kraemer Supreme Court decision that put an end to restrictive covenants used against blacks. Norman Seay was active for decades in fighting discrimination. He was jailed for ninety days for his role in 1963 demonstrations against the discriminatory hiring practices of the Jefferson Bank in St. Louis. In the days following President Obamas election, they reflect...

16 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Obama Post Election

Impact of Obama's Race Speech

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then Senator Barack Obama delivered what was largely considered his most important speech of the campaign, and one of the most significant speeches ever on the subject of race relations. He was responding to comments made by his long-time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright condemning what he called racist America. Wright suggested that racism led to the September 11 attack at the World Trade Center. Because he was an informal advisor to the Obama campaign, Wrights comments raised questions about candidate Obamas own attitude on race. Sen. Obama delivered his response, titled "A More Perfect Union" at Philadelphias Constitution Center. The candidate discussed racial tension, white privilege and black anger. He appealed for America and Americans to come together to confront and solve the major problems facing all Americans. The speech launched a national dialogue on race. In St. Louis, where the polarization of races had long been acknowledged by both ...

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Impact of Obama's Race Speech

Education Achievement Gap

For generations, African American students in St. Louis and the region have performed at a lower level than their counterparts. Many reasons have been cited, not the least of which is inferior schools, inferior equipment, and often less dedicated teachers in poor, urban districts. Family dysfunction also plays a role. During the first decade of the current century, black civic, political and religious leaders have been working to improve the performance of African American students. Each year, the Black Leadership Roundtable has put out a report card measuring the gap. While there has been some progress, the disparity remains. Black Leadership Roundtable executives John Moton, Charles Saulesberry, and Reverend Sammie Jones spoke to the issue.

3 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Education Achievement Gap

Hardships for African-American Girls

The life of young African Americans in poor urban neighborhoods can be more difficult than their Caucasian or African American counterparts in middle class settings know. Violence and drugs are key components. Parental supervision is often lacking. For African American girls, circumstances conspire to keep them mired in an ugly cycle. University of Missouri criminologist Jody Miller has done extensive research into the circumstances that lead so many of these young women into the trap of that cycle which she detailed in her book Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality and Gendered Violence.

4 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Hardships for African-American Girls

The "N" Word

The N word is a racist, demeaning, humiliating slur and has moved from relatively common everyday usage to one that is usually avoided. A new edition of Mark Twains Huckleberry Finn is removing it entirely. However, it is still very much a part of the American vocabulary. It is often used in modern America by black entertainers in comedy routines and popular rap music. And, blacks have been known to use it derogatorily against each other. Whites avoid it in polite conversation and shun it in public discourse. Nonetheless, it is used in private conversation among some people. Racist comments by popular broadcast personality Don Imus and movie star Mel Gibson ignited a national conversation on the N word and the language of race. It prompted a discussion with leaders of the black community in St. Louis: Reverend Douglas Parham, President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition; John Moton, Jr., who chairs the St. Louis Black Leadership Roundtable; and James Buford, President an...

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
The "N" Word

Racial Profiling

Statistics show that minorities, especially blacks, are stopped by police in dramatic disproportion to their percentage of the population. There are many safeguards in place in Missouri designed to prohibit profiling. However, it still happens, and when it does, it drives a wedge between the African American and law enforcement communities. David Harris is the author of Profiles in Injustice which focuses on profiling. He met to discuss the issue with Redditt Hudson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and Rick Rosenfeld, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

4 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Racial Profiling

Black Artists' Group (BAG)

Black entertainers had a difficult time in St. Louis during much of the 20th century. Musicians unions were not welcoming. Venues were limited, forcing some of the areas best known entertainers to leave the area and find success elsewhere. Josephine Baker and Miles Davis were among them. During the 1960s, during the height of social unrest and change, a group of black musicians, actors, writers, dancers, and artists from other disciplines formed a loosely knit collective called the Black Artists Group or BAG. Author Benjamin Looker called it a seedbed for artistic innovation. But, the era of social unrest worked against it. Lookers book Point From Which Creation Begins chronicles the era. Screenwriter and teacher Malinke Elliott was co-founder of BAG in St. Louis. Musician J.D. Parran was participant in the organization.

13 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Black Artists' Group (BAG)

Latest Episodes

Growing Up Black in St. Louis

St. Louis has the dubious distinction of being one of the most racially polarized cities in the nation. However, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that many other cities also have had, and still have, problems with race relations.Three black African Americans of separate generations sat down together at the St. Louis History Museum to talk about their experiences growing up black in St. Louis, and their impressions of how the black experience changed for them here over the years. Mariah Richardson is a playwright, actress and teacher. She attended desegregated schools in St. Louis. Donn Johnson is a retired broadcast journalist who grew up on both sides of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Percy Green is a lifelong civil rights activist. He was in the vanguard of the civil rights movement in the late fifties through the early sixties, and ever since, primarily as a civil disobedience strategist.

15 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Growing Up Black in St. Louis

White Perceptions of the St. Louis Racial Divide

In St. Louis, sometimes called one of the, if not the , most racially polarized city in America how do St. Louis whites view racism today? Political scientist Terry Jones of the University of Missouri-St. Louis has studied the issue. Margaret Freivogel, the editor of the St. Louis Beacon online newspaper has edited a comprehensive series of reports on racism in St. Louis. Nikki Weinstein of FOCUS St. Louis represents a civic organization which seeks positive change through developing leadership, influencing policy, and promoting community connections. FOCUS has sponsored a series of studies on racial polarization in St. Louis.

6 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
White Perceptions of the St. Louis Racial Divide

Obama Inauguration Postscript

The historic inauguration of Barack Obama certainly had special meaning for African Americans. After generations of slavery, followed by the Jim Crow era and widespread discrimination and racism, there was, in the black community especially, a feeling special of pride and accomplishment in Obamas election and inauguration. Three St. Louisans went to Washington to witness the historic swearing in on the Mall. Professor Anthony Bradley is a professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis,Journalist Sylvester Brown, and St. Louis Public Radio host Ed Francis sat down to discuss the experience and its meaning.

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Obama Inauguration Postscript

Obama Post Election

When Barack Obama was elected president he acknowledged that the historic election of a black man was only possible by his standing on the shoulders of those who had fought for ending discrimination and racism in previous decades and generations. Among two of the best known of this group in St. Louis were the late Margaret Bush Wilson and activist Norman Seay. She served nine terms as the chairman of the national Board of Directors of the NAACP and was president of the St. Louis chapter. She was a lawyer-activist and assisted her father as he worked on ending housing discrimination. His work led to the famous 1948 Shelley vs. Kraemer Supreme Court decision that put an end to restrictive covenants used against blacks. Norman Seay was active for decades in fighting discrimination. He was jailed for ninety days for his role in 1963 demonstrations against the discriminatory hiring practices of the Jefferson Bank in St. Louis. In the days following President Obamas election, they reflect...

16 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Obama Post Election

Impact of Obama's Race Speech

During the 2008 presidential campaign, then Senator Barack Obama delivered what was largely considered his most important speech of the campaign, and one of the most significant speeches ever on the subject of race relations. He was responding to comments made by his long-time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright condemning what he called racist America. Wright suggested that racism led to the September 11 attack at the World Trade Center. Because he was an informal advisor to the Obama campaign, Wrights comments raised questions about candidate Obamas own attitude on race. Sen. Obama delivered his response, titled "A More Perfect Union" at Philadelphias Constitution Center. The candidate discussed racial tension, white privilege and black anger. He appealed for America and Americans to come together to confront and solve the major problems facing all Americans. The speech launched a national dialogue on race. In St. Louis, where the polarization of races had long been acknowledged by both ...

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Impact of Obama's Race Speech

Education Achievement Gap

For generations, African American students in St. Louis and the region have performed at a lower level than their counterparts. Many reasons have been cited, not the least of which is inferior schools, inferior equipment, and often less dedicated teachers in poor, urban districts. Family dysfunction also plays a role. During the first decade of the current century, black civic, political and religious leaders have been working to improve the performance of African American students. Each year, the Black Leadership Roundtable has put out a report card measuring the gap. While there has been some progress, the disparity remains. Black Leadership Roundtable executives John Moton, Charles Saulesberry, and Reverend Sammie Jones spoke to the issue.

3 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Education Achievement Gap

Hardships for African-American Girls

The life of young African Americans in poor urban neighborhoods can be more difficult than their Caucasian or African American counterparts in middle class settings know. Violence and drugs are key components. Parental supervision is often lacking. For African American girls, circumstances conspire to keep them mired in an ugly cycle. University of Missouri criminologist Jody Miller has done extensive research into the circumstances that lead so many of these young women into the trap of that cycle which she detailed in her book Getting Played: African American Girls, Urban Inequality and Gendered Violence.

4 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Hardships for African-American Girls

The "N" Word

The N word is a racist, demeaning, humiliating slur and has moved from relatively common everyday usage to one that is usually avoided. A new edition of Mark Twains Huckleberry Finn is removing it entirely. However, it is still very much a part of the American vocabulary. It is often used in modern America by black entertainers in comedy routines and popular rap music. And, blacks have been known to use it derogatorily against each other. Whites avoid it in polite conversation and shun it in public discourse. Nonetheless, it is used in private conversation among some people. Racist comments by popular broadcast personality Don Imus and movie star Mel Gibson ignited a national conversation on the N word and the language of race. It prompted a discussion with leaders of the black community in St. Louis: Reverend Douglas Parham, President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition; John Moton, Jr., who chairs the St. Louis Black Leadership Roundtable; and James Buford, President an...

9 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
The "N" Word

Racial Profiling

Statistics show that minorities, especially blacks, are stopped by police in dramatic disproportion to their percentage of the population. There are many safeguards in place in Missouri designed to prohibit profiling. However, it still happens, and when it does, it drives a wedge between the African American and law enforcement communities. David Harris is the author of Profiles in Injustice which focuses on profiling. He met to discuss the issue with Redditt Hudson of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, and Rick Rosenfeld, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

4 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Racial Profiling

Black Artists' Group (BAG)

Black entertainers had a difficult time in St. Louis during much of the 20th century. Musicians unions were not welcoming. Venues were limited, forcing some of the areas best known entertainers to leave the area and find success elsewhere. Josephine Baker and Miles Davis were among them. During the 1960s, during the height of social unrest and change, a group of black musicians, actors, writers, dancers, and artists from other disciplines formed a loosely knit collective called the Black Artists Group or BAG. Author Benjamin Looker called it a seedbed for artistic innovation. But, the era of social unrest worked against it. Lookers book Point From Which Creation Begins chronicles the era. Screenwriter and teacher Malinke Elliott was co-founder of BAG in St. Louis. Musician J.D. Parran was participant in the organization.

13 MIN2011 SEP 3
Comments
Black Artists' Group (BAG)
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