Up to this point in our season, we’ve been talking about big, top down structures and practices that create municipal divides, and how they’ve made St. Louis one of the most segregated cities in America. So we decided to flip the script and talk about bridging those divides from the ground up. On this episode, we tell you how Mayor McGee went from sharecropping in the deep south to helping a group of mostly black mayors share resources in the fractured system they inherited.
BONUS: Divided by Design
On this bonus episode, historian Colin Gordon will explain how St. Louis was divided by design, how its municipal divides impact public goods and services, and what can be done about the policies that perpetuate segregation today.
What Happened to Missouri's First Black Town?
What happened to Missouri’s first all black town?
What does home mean to you? Is it a physical place? Or maybe a specific person.
Maybe it’s a feeling.
Now how would you feel if home was literally torn down under the promise that something big would come that could change the economy of an entire city? But then that thing never materialized. And what’s left of home is pavement, empty lots and warehouses. This is what happened to Alana Marie’s dad and thousands of other black residents in a small municipality in north St. Louis County called Kinloch. On this episode we tell the story of Kinloch’s rise and decline, and how Alana is working to preserve the history of Missouri first all black town.
BONUS: The Story of Black Jack
We collect sooo many stories while producing this show and we can't always squeeze them into a full episode. So we figured it would be cool to start sharing some with you as bonus episodes. We’re going to make them short and sweet, and we’re hoping that they give you a little more context to the larger stories we tell. This time, we tell the story of how black people now hold significant political power in a town that was explicitly created for racist reasons.
At the Table and Dismissed
In the late 1970s, Dr. Will Ross was told to stay away when applying for medical school in St. Louis. He was told the city was too racist and that he’d be better off on the east coast.But Dr. Ross decided to dig in, and he’s spent a career trying to alleviate massive racial disparities in health outcomes. He’s convinced that the only way to clear a path toward meaningful policy changes is by unifying fractured governmental structures in St. Louis City and County. And a couple of years ago, that belief landed him at a crossroads. He would join powerful people who wanted to create a new way to govern a divided region. But things didn’t exactly go as planned. We tell the story of how Dr. Ross’ recommendations and his criticisms were received, because it says a lot about how race and power continue to work in one of the nation’s most segregated cities.