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The Gateway to the West

St. Louis, Missouri


For long centuries, St. Louis represented the
Midwestern city of industry, of social activism, and of
diverse human beings. It has existed as a city for long
years and the American democratic principles of
equality, the freedom of assembly, etc. are principles
that we are still advocating. St. Louis is also a city
where activists and other unsung people are fighting
for the legitimate cause of social justice. St. Louis is one
major epicenter in the fight against police brutality.
Many creeds, backgrounds, and walks of life live their
lives too in this city. Therefore, it is the perfect time to
outline information about this city’s history, culture,
and great, influential resiliency.

This beautiful scenery is from Tower


Grove Park during the spring in St.
Louis.
The Greatness of St. Louis
The Midwestern city of St. France) to the present, St. Missouri). Ferguson and
Louis has a long history and Louis is filled with a history of Florissant are found northwest
vibrant culture. It is a major development and growth. St. of St. Louis. Clayton,
port in the state of Missouri Louis has the Forest Park Chesterfield, and Richmond
and it's found on the western Jewel Box, MetroLink, the St. Heights are found to the West
bank of the Mississippi River. Louis Art Museum, the of St. Louis. St. Louis is
It is a city that borders Illinois. Gateway Arch, etc. The always a home to architects,
It has over 310,000 people and economy of St. Louis deals musicians, social activists,
its metropolitan area has with service, manufacturing, teachers, other scholars,
almost 3 million people. St. trade, transportation of goods, scientists, engineers, doctors,
Louis has a diverse history too. and tourism. Many
Like other Midwestern cities, it corporations are in the
has a culture that is diverse metro area of St. Louis like
filled with immigrants, black Anheuser-Busch, Express
people, great art, excellent Scripts, Boeing Defense,
cuisine, and lively institutions. Scottrade, Go Jet, etc. It has
Like other cities, it was once a a large medical,
depot of segregation and other pharmaceutical, and research
injustices that courageous presence too. Its current
people in St. Louis fought to mayor is Lyda Krewson. It is a nurses, athletes, lawyers,
end. It is a city with gorgeous city of 66 square miles. To the judges, politicians, and other
architecture and down to Earth East of St. Louis is found East contributors to society. St.
human beings. From 1764 St. Louis, Illinois. South of St. Louis is here to stay and we
(when it was founded by the Louis include Cahokia and will always respect the great
French fur traders Pierre Columbia (which are both culture and the great people of
Laclède and Auguste found in Illinois). North of St. St. Louis, Missouri.
Chouteau. The city was named Louis are Castle Point and
after the King Louis IX of Jennings (both found in
Early St. Louis
St. Louis has a long history. In the beginning, the first people of St. Louis were Native Americans. Native
Americans built the complex, highly advanced Mound builder civilization. The people of the Mississippian
culture created more than two dozen burial mounds around the area of the city of St. Louis. These mounds
existed in ca. 1050 A.D. Some settlements of early St. Louis are preserved at the Cahokia Mounds site in
Illinois. The mounds in St. Louis were almost all demolished. Only one mound remains within the city called
Sugarloaf Mound. Although, St. Louis maintained the nickname of “The Mound City” well into the 19th
century. Many Native Americans settled along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, especially the
Missouri River. Many Native Americans created canoes for transportation out of the large forests in the
region. The end of the Mississippian culture by the 14th century resulted in a new era of history in the
area. There were French Canadian settlers and Siouan speaking groups like the Missouri and the Osage
migrating into the Missouri valley. They lived in villages along the Osage and Missouri rivers. Both groups
had conflict with the northeastern tribes like the Sauk and the Fox. All four of these groups confronted the
earliest explorers of Missouri. Europeans explored the area almost a century before the city of St. Louis was
officially founded.

By the early 1670’s, Jean Talon, went along the Mississippi River after hearing of rumors that it connected
to the Pacific Ocean. So, explorer Louis Joliet and Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette came into the Mississippi
River on June 1673. They traveled past the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi to the mouth of the
Arkansas River. At this point Joliet returned north after determining the river would not reach the Pacific
and fearing attack by Spanish settlers. Nine years later, the French explorer La Salle led an expedition south
from the Illinois River to the mouth of the Mississippi. He claimed the entire valley for France.

La Salle named the Mississippi river basin Louisiana after King Louis XIV. That region was between and near
the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi was named Illinois Country. Many forts existed in the Mississippi
valley. In 1699, the French built a settlement on the east bank of the Mississippi at Cahokia, Illinois, near
the Cahokia Mounds complex. During the next year, the Kaskaskia tribe formed a village at a small river. It
was within the present day area of St. Louis. There were two Jesuit priests, Pierre-Gabriel Marest and
Francois Pinet, who built a small mission at the site, naming the river the River Des Peres (River of the
Fathers). However, by 1703 the site was abandoned as the Kaskaskia moved to the east bank and further
south to a new settlement named Kaskaskia, Illinois. A powerful monopoly involving trade was sent to
Antoine Crozat in the Mississippi Valley. He wanted to find and mine precious stones, gold, and silver. Yet,
Crozat’s venture failed by 1717, because of Spanish interference. He relinquished his charter. The next
company to be granted a trade monopoly for the region was led by John Law. Law was a Scottish financier.
In 1717, Law convinced Louis XIV to provide the Company of the West a 25-year monopoly of trade and
ownership of all mines, while promising to settle 6,000 whites and 3,000 black slaves (as a way to build
churches throughout the region). The company founded New Orleans as the capital of Louisiana in 1718,
and merged with other companies in 1719 to form the Company of the Indies. There was a financial crisis.
Law was ousted in 1720. The Company of the Indies formed its capital of the Illinois Country (in upper
Louisiana) at Fort de Chartres. That location was 15 miles north of Kaskaskia on the east bank of the
Mississippi.

There was another early settlement. It was near present day St. Louis. It was called Ste. Genevieve,
Missouri. It was built in 1732 across from the Kaskaskia village as a convenient port for salt and ore was
mined on the western side of the Mississippi. The Company of the Indies began making trade ties with the
Missouri River tribes during the early 1720’s and the 1730’s. French economic policy dealt with trade with
the Spanish colony of New Mexico to the southwest. Many trade expeditions between New Mexico and the
Mississippi valley occurred between 1739 and the Seven Years’ War of 1756-1763. The war destroyed the
wealth of many French trading firms and merchants based in New Orleans. The French governor of
Louisiana began granting trade monopolies in several areas at the conclusion of the war to stimulate
growth.
The founding of St. Louis
The St. Louis founding existed during the 18th century. Jean-Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie was the new
governor of Louisiana in June of 1763. He changed colonial policies. He moved to grant trade monopolies in
the middle Mississippi Valley to stimulate the economy. Among the new monopolists was Pierre Laclede,
who along with his stepson Auguste Chouteau set out in August 1763 to build a fur trading post new the
confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. The settlement of St. Louis was established at a site south
of the confluence of the west bank of the Mississippi on February 15, 1764, by Chouteau and a group of
about 30 men. Laclede arrived at the side by mid-1764 and provided detailed plans for the village, including
a street grid and market area. French settlers started to arrive to form settlements on the east bank of the
Mississippi River in 1764. They were afraid of British control. This was after the transfer of eastern land to
Great Britain after the Treaty of Paris. The local French lieutenant governor moved into St. Louis in 1765. He
started to award land grants to people.

There were peace negotiations to end the Seven Years’ War. It caused Spain to gain control of Louisiana
according to the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762. Due to travel times and the Louisiana Rebellion of
1768, the Spanish took official control in St. Louis only in May 1770. After the transfer, the Spanish
confirmed French land grants and the Spanish provided local security. Most settlers in St. Louis were
involved in farming. By the 1790’s, almost 6,000 acres were cultivated around St. Louis. Far trading was the
major commercial focus of many residents. It was much more lucrative than agriculture during that period.
The residents were not religious per se, but most of them were Roman Catholic. Most French people in
America during that time were Roman Catholic. The first Catholic Church in St. Louis was built in mid-1770
and St. Louis had a resident priest by 1776. It caused Catholic religious observance a more customary
component of life. The French settlers had both black and Native American slaves in St. Louis. Most of them
worked as domestic servants. Some were agricultural laborers.
By 1769, the Spanish prohibited Native American slavery in Louisiana. Yet,
it was still done among the French Creoles in St. Louis. Spanish governors
ended the Native American slave trade. Yet, they allowed the retention of
current slaves and any children born to them, which was evil. In 1772, a
census determined the population of the village to be 637, including 444
whites (285 males and 159 females) and 193 African slaves, with no Indian
slaves reported due to their technical illegality. During the 1770's and
1780's, St. Louis grew slowly and the Spanish commanders were replaced
often. During the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, the
Spanish governor Bernardo de Galvez (in New Orleans) helped the This is the image of
American rebels with weapons, food, blankets, tents, and ammunition. The Bernardo de Galvez. She
Spanish lieutenant governors at St. Louis aided the colonists too. They helped the Americans during
especially helped the forces of George Rogers Clark during the Illinois the Revolutionary War. He
campaign. On June 1779, the Spanish Empire came into the American was a Spanish governor and
Revolutionary War on the side of the Americans and the French. The British was made an honorary
prepared to invade St. Louis and other Mississippi outposts. Yet, St. Louis American citizen.
was warned of the plans and residents fortified the town. On May 26, 1780,
British and Indian forces attacked the town of St. Louis, but were forced to retreat due to the fortifications
and defections of some Native American forces.

In spite of their defeat, the British and their allies destroyed much of St. Louis' agricultural lands and cattle
stock, killed 23 residents, wounded 7, and captured between 25 and 75 as prisoners (some might have
been murdered after their capture). A subsequent counterattack launched from St. Louis against British
forts in the Midwest ended the threat of another attack on the town. After the British were defeated, more
French Creole families evaded Anglo-American rule by moving to the Spanish-controlled land on the west
bank, including wealthy merchants Charles Gratiot, Sr. and Gabriel Cerre. Both the Gratiot and Cerre
families intermarried with the Chouteau family to create a Creole-dominated society in the 1780's and
1790's. The families also had marital ties to Spanish government officials, including the lieutenant
governors Piernas and Cruzat. During the 1790’s, towns near St. Louis grew. This was when small farmers
sold their lands to the Cerres, Gratiots, Soulards, and the Chouteaus. These farmers moved into towns like
Carondelet, St. Charles, and Florissant. Only 43% of the district’s population lived within the village by 1800
(1,039 of 2,447). The Spanish government secretly returned the unprofitable Louisiana territory to France in
October of 1800 in the Treaty of San Ildefonso. The Spanish officially transferred control in October 1802.
Yet, the Spanish administrators were in charge of St. Louis throughout the time of French ownership. Later,
a team of American negotiators purchased Louisiana, including St. Louis. On March 8 or 9, 1804, the flag of
Spain was lowered at the government buildings in St. Louis and, according to local tradition; the flag of
France was raised. On March 10, 1804, the French flag was replaced by that of the United States.

This picture shows an evil slave auction in a St. Louis courthouse. Black people,
many German immigrants, and others were strongly anti-slavery in St. Louis.

The Antebellum period


By the antebellum period, St. Louis experienced many changes. The governor of the Indiana Territory by the
beginning of the 1800’s governed Louisiana District (which included St. Louis). The district’s organizational
law forbade the slave trade and reduced the influence of St. Louis in the region. Wealthy St. Louisans
petitioned Congress to review the system. By July of 1805, Congress reorganized the Louisiana District as
the Louisiana territory with its territorial capital at St. Louis and its own territorial governor. From the
division of the Louisiana Territory in 1812 to Missouri statehood in 1821, St. Louis was the capital of the
Missouri Territory. St. Louis’ population grew slowly after the Louisiana Purchase. Yet, the expansion
increased desire to incorporate St. Louis as a town. This allowed it to create local ordinances without the
approval of the territorial legislature. On November 27, 1809, the first Board of Trustees was elected. The
Board passed slave codes. It formed a volunteer fire department. It also formed an overseer to improve
street quality. The Board enforced the town ordinances by creating the St. Louis Police Department and a
town jail was established in the fortifications built for the Battle of St. Louis.
After the end of the War of 1812, the population of St. Louis and the Missouri Territory began expanding
quickly. During this expansion, land was donated for the Old St. Louis County Courthouse. The population
increase stirred interest in statehood for Missouri. By 1820, Congress passed the disgraceful Missouri
Compromise. This authorized Missouri admission as a slave state, which was evil. The state constitutional
convention and first General Assembly met ion St. Louis in 1820. St. Louis was incorporated as a city on
December 9, 1822. The first mayor the St. Louis was William Carr Lane. He was a Board of Aldermen, who
replaced the earlier Board of Trustees. Early city government focused on improvements to the riverfront
and health conditions. There was a street paving program and the aldermen voted to rename the streets.

After the transfer of Louisiana to the United States, the Spanish ended subsidies to the Catholic Church in
St. Louis. As a result of this, Catholics in St. Louis had no resident priest until the arrival of Louis Williams
Valentine Dubourg in early January 1818. When he arrived in St. Louis, he replaced the original log chapel
with a brick church, recruited priests, and established a seminary. By 1826, a separate St. Louis diocese was
created. Joseph Rosati became the first bishop in 1827. Protestants had received services from itinerant
ministers in the late 1790’s, but the Spanish required them to move into American territory until after the
Louisiana Purchase. After the purchase, the Baptist missionary John Mason Peck built the first Baptist
church in St. Louis in 1818. Methodist ministers reached town during the early years after the purchase, but
only formed a congregation in 1821. The Presbyterian Church in St. Louis began as a Bible reading society in
1811 and in December 1817 members organized a church and built a chapel late the next year. A fourth
Protestant group who took root was the Episcopal Church, founded in 1825. During the 1830’s and 1840’s,
other faith groups also came to St. Louis, including the first Jewish congregation in the area, the United
Hebrew Congregation, which was organized in 1837. Followers of Mormonism arrived in 1831, and in 1854,
they organized the first LDS church in St. Louis. Despite these events, during the pre-Civil War era most of
the population were culturally Catholic or uninterested in organized religion.

St. Louis back then focused on the fur trade. Operations in St. Louis involving this trade were led by the
Chouteau family and its alliance with the Osages and by Manuel Lisa and his Missouri Fur Company. Due to
its role as a major trading post, the city was the departure point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804.
American and other immigrant families began arriving in St. Louis and opening new businesses. These
businesses were printing and banking which started in the 1810’s. Among the printers were Joseph
Charless. He published the first newspaper west of the Mississippi, the Missouri Gazette on July 12, 1808. In
1816 and 1817, groups of merchants formed the first banks in town, but mismanagement and the Panic of
1819 led to their closure. The effect of the Panic of 1819 and subsequent depression did slow commercial
activity in St. Louis until the mid-1820’s.

St. Louis businesses started to recover by 1824 and 1825. This was done largely as a product of the
introduction of the steamboat. It first arrived in St. Louis by August 2, 1817. Its name was the Zebulon M.
Pike. Rapids north of the city made St. Louis the northernmost navigable port for many large riverboats and
the Pike and other ships soon transformed St. Louis into a massive inland port. More goods became
available in St. Louis during the economic recovery. This was because of the new steamboat power.
Wholesalers, new banks, and other retail stores opened starting during the late 1820’s and early 1830’s.
The fur trade was a big industry in the area into the 1830’s. By 1822, Jedediah Smith joined William H.
Ashley’s St. Louis fur trading company. Smith would later be known for his explorations of the West and for
being the first European American to travel overland to California. New fur trade companies like the Rocky
Mountain Fur Company pioneered trails west. Although beaver fur lost its popularity in the 1840’s, St. Louis
continued as a hub of buffalo hide and other furs.
There was the construction of the County Courthouse during the late 1820’s. St. Louis grew in an addition
of western lots to Ninth Street and a new Hall adjacent to the river in 1833. The military post far north of
the city at Fort Bellefontaine moved nearer to the city to Jefferson Barracks in 1827, and the St. Louis
Arsenal was built in south St. Louis the same year. The 1830’s included dramatic population growth: by
1830, it had increased to 5,832 from roughly 4,500 in 1820. By 1835, it reached 8,316, doubled by 1840 to
16,439, doubled again by 1845 to 35,390, and again by 1850 to 77,860. The rapid population growth in part
caused cholera to be a significant problem in St. Louis. By 1849, there was a major cholera epidemic that
killed nearly 5,000 people. This caused the creation of a new sewer system and the draining of a mill pond.
Cemeteries were removed to the outskirts of Bellefontaine Cemetery and Calvary Cemetery to reduce
groundwater contamination. In the same year, a large fire broke out on a steamboat on the levee. It spread
to 23 other boats. It destroyed a large section of the city. The St. Louis landing was significantly improved
during the 1850’s. Using the engineering planning of Robert E. Lee, levees were constructed on the Illinois
side to direct water toward Missouri to eliminate sand bars that threatened the landing. Another
infrastructure improvement was the city's water system, which was begun in the early 1830s and was
continually improved and expanded in the 1840’s and 1850’s.

By the 1810’s, most early St. Louisans were illiterate. Many wealthy merchants purchased books for private
libraries. Early St. Louis schools were fee based. Most of them conducted lessons in French. The first
substantial educational effort came about under the authority of the Catholic Church. By 1818, it opened
Saint Louis Academy, later renamed Saint Louis University. In 1832, the college applied for a state charter,
and in December 1832, it became the first chartered university west of the Mississippi River. Its medical
school opened in 1842, with faculty that included Daniel Brainard (founder of Rush Medical College), Moses
Linton (founder of the first medical journal west of the Mississippi River in 1843), and Charles Alexander
Pope (later president of the American Medical Association). However, the university primarily catered to
seminary students rather than the general public, and only in the 1840's did the Catholic Church offer large
scale instruction at parochial schools. In 1853, William Greenleaf Eliot founded a second university in the
city – Washington University in St. Louis. During the 1850's Eliot founded Smith Academy for boys and
Mary Institute for girls, which later merged and became Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School.
Public education in St. Louis back then was provided by the St. Louis Public Schools. It started in 1838. They
had 2 elementary schools. The system expanded greatly during the 1840’s. By 1854, the system had 27
schools and served almost 4,000 students. It opened a high school to fanfare by 1855. The high school was
called Central VPA High School. It was the first public high school west of the Mississippi River. In 1860,
nearly 12,000 students had enrolled in the district. The district also opened a normal school in 1857, which
later became Harris-Stower State University. Entertainment options increased during the pre-Civil War
period. In early 1819, the first theater production was opened in St. Louis. There was a musical
accompaniment too. In the late 1830’s, a 35 member orchestra briefly played in St. Louis and in 1860,
another orchestra opened that played more than 60 concerts throughout 1870.

The image to right shows the Commercial District, St. Louis, Missouri. Courtesy of the
Library of Congress.

The Civil War


Before the Civil War, Missouri was a slave state. By the 1840’s, the number of slaves increased, but their
percentage relative to the population declined. During the 1850’s, both the number and percentage
declined. There were about 3,200 free black people and slaves living in St. Louis in 1850. They worked
domestic servants, artisans, crew on the riverboats and stevedores. Some slaves were allowed to earn
wages and some were able to save money to purchase their freedom or that of their relatives. Others were
manumitted, which happened more frequently in St. Louis than in the surrounding rural area. Others tried
to escape via the Underground Railroad or attempted to gain their freedom via freedom suits. The first
freedom suit in St. Louis was filed by Marguerite Scypion in 1805. More than 300 suits were filed in St. Louis
before the Civil War. Among the most famous case was that of Dred Scott and his wife Harriet. This was a
case heard at the Old Courthouse. The suit was based on their having traveled and lived with their slave-
owner in free states. Although the state ruled in his favor, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court resulted in
an 1857 ruling against him. The court ruled that slaves could not be counted as citizens, which is a racist
decision.
The ruling overturned the basis of the Missouri Compromise and it inflamed national debates about slavery.
Economic expansion of the 1830’s caused Irish and Germany immigrants to come into St. Louis in a higher
level. The writings of Gottfried Duden encouraged German immigration. Many Irish were motivated by the
Irish potato famine of 1845-1846. There was the failed Irish uprising of 1848 too. Other Irish settlers came
because of St. Louis’ reputation as a Catholic city. Nativist sentiment increased in St. Louis during the late
1840’s. Nativism is bigotry against an immigrant. There were mob attacks and riots in 1844, 1849, and 1852
over nativist views. The 1844 riots derived from popular outrage and resentment toward human dissection,
which was then taking place at the Saint Louis University Medical College. The discovery of human remains
prompted rumors of grave robbing, and a mob of more than 3,000 residents attacked the medical college,
destroying most of its interior facilities. The worst nativist riot in St. Louis took place in 1854. The local
militia was used to end the fighting. 10 people were killed, 33 wounded, and 93 buildings were damaged.
Regulations on elections prevented fighting in future elections in 1856 and 1858.

Important Civil War-era Leaders in St. Louis, Missouri

Brother James Milton Turner was born Brother Moses Dickson was an
in St. Louis. He fought in the Union. abolitionist, a Union soldier, a
Also, James Milton Turner was an minister, and he fought for justice. He
educator, an activist, a diplomat, and was a co-founder of Lincoln
he was a prominent freedom fighter. University. There are many unsung
He helped to establish Lincoln black Americans who sacrificed so
Institute in Jefferson City, which was much, so we could be here on this
the first institution of higher education Earth to live and to fight for social
for African Americans in Missouri. He justice.
was part of the Radical Republicans
and the Missouri Equal Rights League
being in favor of equality. He had
excellent oratorical skills too.
Many of the Major Events of the U.S. Civil War

`
The top image shows the Battle of Gettysburg where thousands of men lost their
lives. The image on the middle left shows the city of New Orleans being captured by
Union forces. The image of the middle right shows crewmembers of the USS
Wissahickon near by the ship’s 11 inch (280 mm) Dahlgren gun in ca. 1863. The image
on the bottom left shows the surrender of Robert E. Lee which was executed by
General Ulysses S. Grant. It happened on April 9, 1865 in Appomattox Courthouse (in
Virginia). The image on the bottom right shows African American Union soldiers.
Black soldiers were key in establishing the Union victory and their sacrifice plus
bravery must always be honored.
We will always remember the American Civil War.
Before the Civil War, the core of St. Louis leadership shifted from the Creole and Irish families to a new
group. This group was dominated by anti-slavery Germans. Among this new class of leaders was Frank P.
Blair Jr. He led an effort to create a local militia loyal to the Union after Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox
Jackson hinted about secession. The local militia allied itself with the Union army forces at Jefferson
Barracks under the leadership of Nathaniel Lyon. On May 10, 1861, Lyon cleared a Confederate
encampment outside the city in which would become known as the Camp Jackson Affair. While the
Confederates were being marched back into town, a group of citizens attacked the Union and militia forces,
costing 28 civilian lives. Throughout the entirety of the Civil War, St. Louis was under pressure as it was
considered a city on the borderline. Though many people were confident in abolition, many were
concerned about the economic effect of losing their free work force. In addition, St. Louis was still a
developing city, and so a war could lead to utter destruction and ruin. However, with all the necessity of
ammunition, St. Louis survived and transformed into a leader among cities.

After the Camp Jackson Affair, there were no more military threats to Union control until 1864, although
guerrilla activity continued in rural areas for the duration of the war. Union General John C. Frémont placed
the city under martial law in August 1861 to suppress sedition; after Fremont's dismissal, Union army forces
continued to suppress pro-Confederate demonstrations. The war significantly damaged St. Louis
commerce, especially after the Confederacy blockaded the Mississippi shutting off St. Louis's connection to
eastern markets. War also slowed growth during the 1860s, with an increase of only 43,000 residents from
1860 to 1866.

Its Growth
After 1866, St. Louis experienced rapid growth. St. Louis increased so much that it became the fourth
largest city in America back then after New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. St. Louis grew its
infrastructure fast. Its transportation and heavy industry grew. During the Civil War, the infrastructure of St.
Louis suffered because of neglect. There was another cholera epidemic in 1866 and typhoid fever existed in
areas. That cholera epidemic killed more than 3,500 people. This caused the forming of the St. Louis Board
of Health. This organization gave power to create and enforce sanitary regulation and monitor the actions
of many polluting industries. There was a new waterworks being formed in north St. Louis in 1871 in order
to hand water problems. There was a large reservoir at Compton Hill and a standpipe at Grand Avenue. Yet,
water quality problems existed due to high demand and the dumping of waste upriver from the
waterworks. The gas light system also saw improvements during the 1870’s when the Laclede Gaslight
Company was formed to serve the south side of the city. By the early 1870’s, new industries grew in St.
Lois. There was the cotton compressing devises which used raw cotton to be compressed for easier
shipment. By 1880, St. Louis had the third largest raw cotton market in America. Most of it was transported
by railroad. The Cotton Belt Railroad (which was created in St. Louis in 1879) from smaller lines that
connected the region to cotton producers in Texas. St. Louis’ parks grew in St. Louis from the 1860’s to the
1870’s. Lafayette Park existed in 1868 and Tower Grove Park existed in 1868 (by Henry Shaw donating
land). One park in 1876 was said to be integrated, but Jim Crow laws restricted the use of the park by
African Americans.

After the Civil War, property values were used to fund schools. School taxes increased. Public and parochial
school expanded from 24,347 students in public schools and 4,362 students in parochial schools. By the
1870’s, William Torrey Harris’s discipline and curriculum focused on rigorous obedience and training in
grammar, philosophy, and mathematics was adopted by St. Louis schools. Harris also promoted
kindergarten in America. Susan Blow promoted it in 1874. Kindergarten back then was very popular in St.
Louis. It served about 7,800 students by the end of the 1870’s. Segregated schools for African Americans
started in the 1820’s by ministers John Mason Peck and John Berry Meachum. Yet, these schools were
closed by the local police. Local black churches opened schools since they ran them secretly and Missouri
legislature banned education for free black people in St. Louis before the Civil War. Starting in 1864, an
integrated group of St. Louisans formed the Board of Education for Colored Schools, which established
schools without public finances for more than 1500 pupils in 1865.

Black people fought for black high schools to be funded like Sumner High School. That was the first high
school for black stude4nts west of the Mississippi. Inequality remained rampant in St. Louis schools. The
Missouri Constitution of 1865 required municipalities to support black education; in response, the St. Louis
Board of Education appropriated .2% of its budget for that purpose. However, this sum amounted to $500,
meaning that facilities were quite poor; long walking distances from schools were common, and teacher
salaries were roughly half of those in white schools. Railroads grew in St. Louis too. James B. Eads was a
self-taught engineer who built structures like the bridge from the Missouri side. The Eads Bridge was
finished in 1874, which was the first Mississippi River Bridge to St. Louis. Union Station was built in 1894 to
promote railroad service in St. Louis. By December 1876, there was the separation of St. Louis from St.
Louis County. This made St. Louis an independent city.

St. Louis industrialized heavily in brewing, flour milling, slaughtering, machining, and tobacco processing.
Paint, bricks, bag, and iron were other industries in St. Louis. The city grew during the 1880’s in its
population from 350,518 to 451,770, making it the country's fourth largest city; it also was fourth measured
by value of its manufactured products, and more than 6,148 factories existed in 1890. The Panic of 1893
slowed manufacturing. The beer industry is historically known to be in existence in St. Louis. The two
largest St. Louis brewers, Anheuser-Busch (the world's largest brewery) and Lemp Brewery, together
produced 1.5 million barrels in 1900. St. Louis breweries also were innovators: Anheuser-Busch pioneered
refrigerated railroad cars for beer transport and was the first company to market pasteurized bottled beer.
There was pollution as a product of rapid industrialization. Many people complained to the St. Louis Board
of Health about decaying animals converted to products. There were noxious fumes being health hazards.
One of the few health policies to be carried out began in 1880; in the new policy, nuisance regulations
would be enforced strictly in some areas while little in others, thereby encouraging offending industries to
concentrate in certain areas. Skyscrapers existed in 1892 with the Wainwight Building. Nikola Tesla
conducted a public demonstration of his wireless lighting and power transmission system here in 1893.
Addressing the National Electric Light Association, he showed "wireless lighting" in 1893 via lighting Geissler
tubes wirelessly. Tesla proposed this wireless technology could incorporate a system for the
telecommunication of information.

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin lived in St. Louis from 1901 to 1907. Blues music was found all over St. Louis.
The home Joplin rented in 1900-1903 was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and was
saved from destruction by the local African American community. In 1983, the Missouri Department of
Natural Resources made it the first state historic site in Missouri dedicated to the African American heritage
After the Civil War, baseball was played. The baseball team the St. Louis Brown Stockings was founded in
1875. The Brown Stockings were a founding member of the National League and became a hometown
favorite, defeating the Chicago White Stockings (later the Chicago Cubs) in their opener on May 6, 1875.
However, the original Brown Stockings club closed in 1878, and an unrelated National League team with
the same name was founded in 1882. This team changed its name multiple times, shortening to the Browns
in 1883, then becoming the Perfectos in 1899, and settling on the St. Louis Cardinals in 1900. The 1904
World’s Fair took place in St. Louis. This comes 100 years after the Louisiana Purchase. The Government
Building at the 1904 World’s Fair was held in St. Louis Forest Park. The infrastructure of St. Louis was
modernized to make way for the World’s Fair. The fair celebrated American expansionism, which is a coded
phrase for American imperialism. It showed exhibits of French fur trading and Eskimo including Filipino
villages. Concurrently, the 1904 Summer Olympics were held in St. Louis, at what would become the
campus of Washington University in St. Louis. Historical artifacts relating to St. Louis history were collected
and exhibited by the Missouri Historical Society.
The early 20th century
During the early 1900’s, segregation continued. There were massive building programs. It involved
developing residential neighborhoods and growing parks and playgrounds. The Parks Commissioner and
former professional tennis player Dwight F. Davis continued to develop recreational locations. By the early
1910’s, he expanded tennis locations. There was a public 18 hole golf course in northwest Forest Park. The
St. Louis Zoo existed during the 1910’s under the leadership of Mayor Henry Keil. The 1939 smog in St.
Louis caused the ban on burning low quality coal back in December 1939. There was natural gas to heating
homes and cleaner fuels in existence by the 1940’s. The 1904 St. Louis World Fair saw ballooning. The first
airplane in St. Louis that flew was in 1909. More airfields existed. In 1925, Lambert Field expanded its
facilities. The St. Louis primary airport today is Lambert Field. Jim Crow laws existed in St. Louis. Racism was
prevalent just like in the American South. The St. Louis black community continued to work and fight for
justice. They lived along the riverfront or near the railroad yards. Due to an influx of refugees from East St.
Louis and the general effects of the Great Migration of blacks from the rural South to industrial cities, the
black population of St. Louis increased more rapidly than the whole during the decade of 1910 to 1920.
Many St. Louis German and Irish communities wanted neutrality when World War I commenced in 1914.
Many Americans back then mistreated German St. Louisans because of the war. Some St. Louisans
repressed elements of German culture. Many plants were closer to the Atlantic back then. After World War
I, the nationwide prohibition of alcohol in 1919 brought heavy losses to the St. Louis brewing industry.
Other industries, such as light manufacturing of clothing, automobile manufacturing, and chemical
production, filled much of the gap, and St. Louis's economy was relatively diversified and healthy during the
1920’s. St. Louis suffered as much or more than comparable cities in the early years of the Great
Depression. Manufacturing output fell by 57 percent between 1929 and 1933, slightly more than the
national average of 55 percent, and output remained low until World War II. Unemployment during the
Depression was high in most urban areas, and St. Louis was no exception (see table). Black workers in St.
Louis, as in many cities, suffered significantly higher unemployment than their white counterparts. To aid
the unemployed, the city allocated funds starting in 1930 toward relief operations. In addition to city relief
aid, New Deal programs such as the Public Works Administration employed thousands of St. Louisans. Civic
improvement construction jobs also reduced the number of persons on direct relief aid by the late 1930’s.

World War 2 and the suburbs


St. Louis has a big role in World War II. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. St. Louis later
prepared for war. They sent soldiers to protect local military and munitions installations. These installations
include the St. Louis Army Ammunition Plant at Goodfellow and Bircher, Lambert Field, and the Curtiss-
Wright aircraft factory. The St. Louis police protect bridges. Workers in military factories were checked to
protect against sabotage. There were anti-civil liberty measures where there was the arrest or interrogation
of German, Italian, and Japanese persons including naturalized citizens. Many local Japanese restaurants
were closed, which was wrong. One Japanese man, who was the manager of the Bridlespur Hunt Club in
Huntleigh, Missouri, was arrested. St. Louis labor leaders created boycotts of products created by the Axis
Power. Bonfires were lit of Japanese made products. During the spring and summer of 1942, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made several high-profile arrests or investigations in St. Louis, including one
into a pastor in Chesterfield, Missouri who was accused of sedition for condemning lynchings and openly
opposing the playing of the Star Spangled Banner in church. So, the FBI back then was attacking the
freedom of speech. There was anti-Japanese racist sentiment throughout America during this time. Much
money came to build up defense systems and infrastructure like bridges. The city had its first blackout on
March 7, 1942. A second blackout, held in February 1943, was considerably more successful than the first,
with 4 of 12 civil defense districts fully blacked out. The local branch of the federal Office of Civilian Defense
enrolled 5,300 air raid wardens, 2,400 volunteer firefighters, and 3,000 volunteer police officers by April
1942. City building inspectors selected 200 sites as air raid shelters, enough to house 40,000 people, and
local schools began preparing students for attack. The city and region also were protected by anti-aircraft
guns, but mistakenly fired on civilian aircraft multiple times during the war. Atomic bomb research existed
in St. Louis too.

Many vehicles that were used in the invasion of Normandy were created by the St. Louis Chevrolet factory.
Many soldiers from St. Louis participated in World War II. One was Edward O’Hare. He grew up in St. Louis.
He attended Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, followed by acceptance to the United States Naval
Academy. During a combat flight in the Pacific in February 1942, O'Hare shot down five Japanese bombers
that were on a run to attack the USS Lexington, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor and a
parade in St. Louis. St. Louis also was home to Wendell O. Pruitt, an African-American pilot who shot down
three enemy aircraft and multiple ground targets in June 1944. St. Louis celebrated Pruitt's achievement by
naming December 12, 1944 "Captain Wendell O. Pruitt Day.” In addition, more than 5400 St. Louisans
became casualties of the war, listed as either missing in action or killed in action. Products were rationed in
St. Louis. The supplies rationed included tires, gasoline, and other material. St. Louis was the first U.S. city
to have its war bond quota reached in 1942 and 1943. At the outbreak of war, African-American St.
Louisans gained greater acceptance in industry than they had previously.

By the end of 1942, nearly 8,000 black men and women were hired in St. Louis industries, but employment
discrimination remained a significant problem for the community. Most jobs in war factories were
unskilled, although some factories, notably Scullin Steel, hired significant numbers of skilled black workers.
The April 1943 municipal elections were significant for the civil rights movement, as the first African-
American was elected to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Rev. Jasper C. Caston. In the same election, the
first woman was elected to the Board, Clara Hempelmann. African Americans were allowed to eat at a city
owned lunch counters in March of 1944. This came as a product of a city integration ordinance. St. Louis
admitted its first black students in the fall of 1944 in St. Louis University. There was a sit in on May 18, 1944
to protest the black sailor being refused service in a downtown lunch counter. Other peaceful sit-ins were
at Stix, Baer, and Fuller. Protesters were removed. Jim Crow didn’t end, but it was the start of the end of
Jim Crow in St. Louis. Many German prisoners of war were in St. Louis and Italians in Weingarten, Missouri.
They held with flooding preventing measures in Mississippi. After World War II ended, the American Legion
was created in St. Louis. Many St. Louis people lost their jobs. There were economic problems. The GI Bill
helped veterans own homes in St. Louis and St. Louis County. Later, there was a population exodus from St.
Louis City. More people lived in the suburbs and St. Louis’ population declined.

German Jewish immigrants, who had mainly come to St. Louis in the decades after the Civil War, began
moving to wealthy west end of St. Louis, while Eastern European Jewish immigrants began moving to areas
in northwest St. Louis and into Wellston and University City, Missouri. Italians at first had congregated in a
"Little Italy" located in the Columbus Square neighborhood, but starting in the 1910s and 1920s large
numbers of Italians (primarily from Milan, Lombardy, and Piedmont) began moving to an area west of Kings
highway and south of Forest Park, known as The Hill. This area, five miles from downtown, was distant
enough from the city that the group maintained cultural identity and was relatively self-sufficient. After
World War II, the neighborhood fell into decline, but it was revitalized through a neighborhood association
effort starting in 1969 and remains an icon of Italian-American culture in St. Louis. Streetcars and railroad
stations allowed more people to go into the suburbs. The suburbs developed with the national highway
system and more people living from the Rust Belt (in the Northeast and Midwest) to the Sunbelt (in the
south and west). The increase of automobile ownership caused suburbanization to grow too.
St. Louis' Civil Rights Movement
The long, unsung history of St. Louis’ Civil Rights Movement shows the inspirational power of black
Americans. Since the founding of St. Louis in 1764, many people of black African descent were in St. Louis.
Many were slaves and many were free black people. Back during French and Spanish colonial rule, black
people lived in St. Louis. Many black settlers defended St. Louis from the British during the Revolutionary
War during the Battle of Fort San Carlos. This took place on the Gateway Arch grounds. There were 10,000
slaves in Missouri by 1820. Many people opposed the disgraceful 1821 Missouri Compromise. There was a
protest among free black people and white people against Missouri being a slave state back in 1819
(according to Judge Nathan B. Young). It is also very important to mention that Dred Scott lived in St. Louis.
His wife stood by him and he was free before he passed away in September of 1858. His wife Harriet Scott
lived to the time of June 17, 1876. Rev. John Berry Meachum helped to educate black children during the
19th century. One Freedom School teacher was a black woman named Elizabeth Keckley. She purchased
her freedom in 1854. She wrote about her experiences in her book entitled, “Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty
Years a Slaves, and Four Years in the White House.” She was a seamstress in the White House, who created
dresses for Mary Todd Lincoln (or Abraham Lincoln’s wife).

Many black people owned land in St. Louis throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Ester was a black
woman who owned land. James Milton Turner was born a slave in St. Louis and he was freed as a child with
his mother in 1843. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio (which was a famous college where African
Americans graduated from back then) and, after the Civil War, became secretary of the Missouri Equal
Rights League, campaigning to give blacks the right to vote. In 1870, Missouri accepted the 15th
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing the right to vote. Turner died in 1915 and is buried in
Father Dickson Cemetery in Crestwood. Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis and she fought for civil rights
throughout her life. She was raised in the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood of St. Louis.

The African American-based St. Louis American newspaper was created by Judge Nathan B. Young and
other African American businessmen (including Homer G. Phillips). It dealt with black issues and it was first
published in 1928. It has won many awards in excellence involving journalism, design, and commitment to
the community. There were the white terrorists who murdered and brutalized black people in the 1917
East St. Louis riots (in Illinois). Many black people fled into St. Louis via the bridges. The riot caused 39 black
people to die and 9 whites to die too. In 1930, the St. Louis American newspaper started a "Buy Where You
Can Work" campaign. This campaign was about both boycotting businesses that discriminated against black
people and forming more economic empowerment in the African American community. Judge Nathan B.
Young edited issues in the newspaper for decades. The newspaper gave people great information about
African American contributions in St. Louis and the contributions of non-black people in the freedom
struggle.

During the 1930’s, black people in the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters fought for labor
rights. One African American union organizer and politicians involved in this effort was Theodore McNeal.
He was the first elected African American to be in the Missouri Senate after he defeated Edward Hogan. He
led the passage of the Fair Employment Practices Act in 1962. He supported the creation of the University
of Missouri-St. Louis in 1964 and he helped to establish the passage of the state Civil Rights Code in 1965.
He worked in the University of Missouri and received many honors and honorary degrees (from the
University of Missouri, Lincoln University, and Lindenwood University). He lived and passed away on
October 25, 1982. He or McNeal said the following words decades ago at the Kiel Auditorium rally: “We
resent the Jim Crow setup in the armed forces and war industry, and treatment branding us as second-class
citizens.”

The Civil Rights Movement in St. Louis involved heavily grassroots


activism. It involved men, women, and children who wanted an end
to racial discrimination, Jim Crow, housing discrimination, and
economic exploitation. They wanted black people to have adequate,
fair job opportunities, so people can pursue their happiness in the
most effective way possible. Many important civil rights cases were
reality to the city of St. Louis. The Missouri History Museum
documents the African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. The
civil rights movement was very active in St. Louis. The 1938 Missouri
ex rel. Gaines v. Canada Supreme Court decision stated that states
These skyscrapers are located just
that provide a school to whites must also provide in state education
west of the Gateway Arch and the
to black people too. The Supreme Court said that this can occur by Mississippi River. St. Louis has a long
either allowing black people or white people to attend the same histroy of social activism filled with
school or create a second school for African Americans. Lloyd Gaines people standing up for justice.
was a black man who wanted to go into law school. He was refused
to do so in Missouri. So, Gaines cited the Fourteenth Amendment as evidence to why his preventing of
going into a law school was a violation of his constitutional rights. He’s right. The decision did not quite
strike down separate but equal facilities, upheld in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
Instead, it provided that if there was only one school, students of all races could be admitted. It struck
down segregation by exclusion if the government provided just one school. That was a precursor to Brown
v. Board of Education (1954). This case was the beginning of the end of the Plessy decision. Despite the
initial victory claimed by the NAACP, after the Supreme Court had ruled in Gaines' favor and ordered the
Missouri Supreme Court to reconsider the case, Gaines was nowhere to be found. When the University of
Missouri soon after moved to dismiss the case, the NAACP did not oppose the motion. The historic Shelley
v. Kraemer (of 1948) case was a landmark Supreme Court case that ruled that courts could not enforce
racial covenants on real estate. Louis and Fern Kraemer were white neighbors who wanted to keep the
black couple (J.D. and Ethel Shelley) from owning a home in the area. George L. Vaughn was a black
attorney who represented J.D. Shelley at the Supreme Court of the United States. The attorneys who
argued the case for the McGhees (as part of the companion case McGhee v. Sipes from Detroit, Michigan,
where the McGhees purchased land that was subject to a similar restrictive covenant) were Thurgood
Marshall and Loren Miller. Later, the St. Louis City Hall was integrated and a swimming pool was integrated
in Fairground Park.

The image on the left show an innocent black person on the ground after being
assaulted by white racists during the 1949 Fairground Park riot.
The June 21, 1949 Fairground Park riot involve white racists hating the fact that St. Louis integrated its
public swimming pools. Robert Gammon & J.C. Tobias are black people who were chased by white racist
gangs back then during the Fairgound Park riots (they were much younger back then). During that 1949
riot, about 4,000 to 5,000 whites roamed the grounds of the Fairground Park and assaulted any and every
African American that crossed their path. In 1959, sit-ins took place at Pope’s Cafeteria downtown, the
Woolworth’s in midtown and the Howard Johnson’s at 3501 North Kings highway. Many restaurants had
conceded to integrate by 1961, when the Board of Aldermen banned discrimination in public places. The
historic Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case,
which held that Congress could regulate the sale of private property to prevent racial discrimination. The
Supreme Court decision of Shelley v. Kraemer banned all racial discrimination, private as well as public, in
the sale or rental of property, and that the statute, thus construed, is a valid exercise of the power of
Congress to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment. In May of 1942, the Booker T. Washington Technical
vocational school wanted to help promote the war effort during WWII.

St. Louis was very central in the development of the black freedom struggle. Many of the unsung heroes of
this struggle include Billie Teneau, Frankie Freeman, Hedy Epstein, Percy Green II, and Jamala Rogers. By
1947, CORE or the Congress on Racial Equality was formed in its St. Louis chapter. CORE’s original goal was
to end injustice and establish true equality for all people. Billie Teneau was a founding member of the local
CORE chapter. CORE back then held interracial picnics in Forest Park to show a message for justice. They
made peaceful demonstrations throughout the city. During this time, the NAACP was already a powerful
force in St. Louis. Its leadership was strong. NAACP worked heavily in the courts to fight for equal
educational opportunities, racial equality, and fair housing. On 1949, NAACP civil rights lawyer Frankie
Muse Freeman was involving the Brewton v. the Board of Education of St. Louis case. This was years before
the Brown v. Board of Education decision that banned racial segregation in public schools back in 1954.
Hedy Epstein worked with the Freedom of Residence to fight for housing rights. Percy Green II fought for
direct action in St. Louis. He was part of CORE and found the ACTION organization to continue in nonviolent
resistance. Jamala Rogers is a known activist who fought for freedom in St. Louis for decades and in our
time with the Ferguson movement. One of the most important parts of St. Louis history was the Jefferson
Bank demonstration.

On August 30, 1963, black protesters desired changes in the hiring practices at Jefferson Bank. Working
class people, physicians, and business professionals marched in favor of economic justice. Civil rights
groups wanted the bank to hire more black people since the bank only had two black employees. Not to
mention that St. Louis is a black mecca of culture. The protesters sang, “We shall not be moved.” On that
day of August 30, 1963, nine people were arrested. Bank executives were stubborn as they refused to
change originally. CORE supported the movement against Jefferson Bank at 2600 Washington Avenue (just
west of downtown). CORE chairman back then, Robert B. Curtis, wanted the bank to do the right thing.
CORE and the NAACP worked together in the endeavor. The protests continued. On March 2, 1964,
Jefferson Bank hired six more African Americans. The protests represented the influence of St. Louis in the
modern civil rights movement.

Heroic Activists who have done great things in St. Louis

Percy Green is Gwen B. Giles was a Frankie Muse Freeman Jamala Rogers is a
courageous (He is a well- legend (She was the first was glorious (She lived freedom fighter (She is a
known social activist in African American to be 101 years old. She progressive active and
St. Louis. He worked for woman in the Missouri recently passed away on author who has worked
CORE and ACTION). He state Senate). She was January 12, 2018). She in St. Louis and in other
continues to fight for active in civil rights and was a civil rights places to fight for social
justice for black people fought for equality every attorney and fought justice). She gives
to this very day. day of her life. She was discrimination speeches, writes articles,
born in Atlanta, Georgia throughout her life. and enacts other work in
and passed away in 1986 demanding real change.
at the age of 53.

The St. Louis city Alderman William Clay would go into Congress. Raymond Howard and Louis Ford would
be Missouri legislators. Hundreds of people went into jail during the 1960’s in St. Louis for demonstrating
against Jefferson Bank. To this very day, protests involving the Jefferson Bank continue. They also wanted
many businesses to hire more black people as well. Many people were arrested during the 1960's after the
court in St. Louis issued an injunction which would try to restrict demonstrations. Attorneys like Margaret
Bush Wilson were involved in the movement involving the Jefferson Bank demonstrations too. She was a
civil rights activist throughout her life and she was a courageous black woman. Norman Seay continues to
speak out against discrimination and bank hiring practices. On July 14, 1964, civil rights protesters including
Percy Green climbed up the unfinished Gateway in 1964 to fight for job opportunities for African
Americans. Percy Green also rightfully opposed economic discrimination and he wanted to fight the Veiled
Prophet parade (starting in 1965) because of its racist overtones.
With the Black Power movement, Black Panthers and other groups were readily involved in St. Louis. One of
the greatest civil rights leaders was Dick Gregory, who was born and raised in St. Louis. He lived for 84 years
from 1932 to 2017. He supported Dr. King and Malcolm X. He marched, protested, gave sacrifice to the
cause of freedom, and was a strong health plus peace activist. Dick Gregory opposed the Vietnam War and
he was always outspoken on critically important issues. He was a social analyst, comedian, and great elder.
The Black Panthers was a progressive, revolutionary group who desired black liberation and Third World
international solidarity. They believed in socialist principles and desired all power to the people. In April of
1968, Dr. King was assassinated. In that month, 30,000 people marched peacefully to Forest Park. There
was no rebellion in St. Louis. Also, on April 4, 1969, ACTION members raised their clinched fists in endorsing
a rent strike in St. Louis.

The 1969 rent strike in St. Louis public housing brought fair, affordable housing more into the discussion
among the national civil rights agenda. Gwen B. Giles was the first African American woman elected to the
Missouri Senate. Giles was a civil rights activist and got involved in Democratic politics while trying to
improve the lives of black people living in and around St. Louis. She broke down barriers for black people
and women in Missouri. As co-chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, she looked at discrimination in hiring
practices. Giles sponsored bills including endorsing the Equal Rights Amendment, eliminating blue laws,
processing personal-injury claims, making public assistance easier to deposit for citizens, and increasing aid
to dependent children of unemployed parents. Under her leadership, the West End Community Conference
in St. Louis addressed local school desegregation and received $30 million dollars to address housing in the
area. She was a member of the Order of Women Legislators, NAACP, the International Consultation on
Human Rights, and the National Council of Negro Women. She co-founded the Missouri Black Leadership
Conference. She passed away in 1986 as a product of lung cancer. She was 53 years. Dr. Joe Williams was
one of the leaders of the civil rights movement in the city during the 1960's. He passed away on March 16,
2013 at the age of 87. Curt Flood was an African American baseball player who fought for free agency. As
time went on, more black people migrated into the suburbs of St. Louis County including Ferguson from
1970 to the present.

St. Louis is the fifth most segregated state in the Union today. Housing discrimination and unregulated
suburban development continues in the St. Louis region to this very day. In Missouri, racial and class
tensions exist and we have a long way to go. Yet, we have faith that the future will be better than the past
via discussions, social activism, and the development of our power. Decades later since 1968, the Black
Lives Matter movement would fight against racial oppression and police brutality during the 21st century.
We are still fighting poverty, gentrification, and corporate exploitation worldwide. The events of Ferguson
(with Michael Brown being killed by Darren Wilson in August of 2014) and St. Louis, involving the
opposition to the police killing unarmed black people, has inspired a new generation of activism. In the end,
we shall overcome.
More St. Louis Building Projects
After World War II, there were early urban renewal actions in St. Louis. Also, many people made an effort
to create a riverfront memorial to try to honor the slave owner Thomas Jefferson. This later would include
the famous Gateway Arch. The project started in the early 1930’s. They or authorities acquired and
demolished a 40 block area where the memorial would stand. The only remnant of Laclede’s street grid
that was preserved was north of Eads Bridge (in what is now called Laclede’s Landing). The only building in
the area to remain was the Old Cathedral. The area was used as a parking lot and demolition continued
until the start of World War II. The project stalled until a design competition for the memorial started. In
1948, the Finnish architect Ero Saarinen’s design for an inverted and weighted catenary curve won the
competition. Groundbreaking started in 1954. The Arch topped out in October of 1965.

A museum and visitors’ center was completed underneath the structure and it was opened in 1976. It
attracted millions of visitors. The Arch ultimately spurred more than $500 million in downtown
construction during the 1970’s and the 1980’s. There were plans during the 1930’s to build subsidized
housing in St. Louis. Civil improvement efforts existed during the 1920’s. There were 2 big housing projects
built in 1939. After World War II, more than 33,000 houses had shared outdoor toilets while thousands of
St. Louisans lived in crowded, unsafe conditions. Starting in 1953, St. Louis cleared the Chestnut Valley area
in Midtown, selling the land to developers who constructed middle-class apartment buildings. Nearby, the
city cleared more than 450 acres (1.8 km2) of a residential neighborhood known as Mill Creek Valley,
displacing thousands. A residential mixed-income development known as LaClede Town was created in the
area in the early 1960's, although this was eventually demolished for an expansion of Saint Louis University.
The majority of people displaced from Mill Creek Valley were poor and African American, and they typically
moved to historically stable, middle-class black neighborhoods such as The Ville. In 1953, St. Louis issued
bonds that financed the completion of the St. Louis Gateway Mall project and several new high rise housing
projects. The most famous and largest of these projects were Pruitt-Igoe. It opened in 1954 on the
northwest edge of downtown. It included 33 eleven-story buildings with nearly 3,000 units. Between 1953
and 1957, St. Louis built more than 6,100 units of public housing. Each opened with enthusiasm on the part
of the local leaders, the media, and new tenants. The problem was that from the beginning, the projects
had too little recreational space, too few healthcare facilities, no shopping centers, and employment
opportunities were low. Crime was rampant, especially at Pritt-Igoe. The complex was demolished in 1975.

The other St. Louis housing projects remained relatively occupied through the 1980’s in spite of problems
of poverty, crime, and lax health care services. So, many black people and poor people were forced to live
in bad housing. There was the 1955 urban renewal bond issue. It totaled more than $110 million. The bonds
provided funds to purchase land to build three expressways into downtown St. Louis. It evolved into
Interstate 64, Interstate 70, and Interstate 44. In 1967, the highway only Poplar Street Bridge opened to
move traffic from all three expressways over the Mississippi River. The openings of the Arch in 1965 and
the bridge in 1967 were accompanied by the opening of a new stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals. The
Cardinals moved into Busch Memorial Stadium early in the 1966 season. Construction of the stadium
required the demolition of Chinatown, St. Louis, ending the large presence of a decades-old presence of a
Chinese immigrant community. The city’s population decline since the 1920’s caused a government
consolidation movement. The local government consolidated services. St. Louis didn’t annex new lands
back during the pre-Great Depression era. Later, the attempts of consolidation included the Metropolitan
Sewer District, a city–county water and sewer company formed in 1954. The next year, however, a city–
county mass transit agency was rejected by voters, followed by a failed charter revision in 1955 that would
have unified the city and the county. As the County population grew, local subdivisions began multiplying
and incorporating into cities and towns, producing more than 90 separate municipalities by the 1960's.
Regional planning advocates succeeded in the 1965 creation of the East–West Gateway Coordinating
Council, a group given the power to approve or deny applications for federal aid from cities. St. Louis had its
population peak in the early 1950’s with about 880,000 people. It declined by new highway construction,
more automobile ownership, and more suburbanization. There was white flight that started in the late
1950’s and continued in the 1960’s plus the 1970’s. The black population declined in size from 1968 to
1972 by nearly 20,000 residents, representing significant black out-migration from the city during the
period. Many Americans moved to suburban developments in St. Louis County like Ferguson.

Extra Information about St. Louis

The city of St. Louis is St. Louis University Busch Stadium is located This is the official flag
found on the border High School was in Downtown St. Louis. of St. Louis, Missouri.
of the state of created in 1818. The The MLB’s St. Louis
Missouri. current building was Cardinals play there.
built in 1924.
The 1980's and Beyond
From 1981 to 2000, St. Louis experienced massive changes. During the late 1970’s, urban decay was
abundant. By 1980, it counted 435,000 people from 816,000 residents from 1940. Many buildings and
homes were left to rot. There was pollution and industries languishing by 1980. Then, there was the
election of Vincent Schoemehl as the city's youngest mayor ever in 1981. He had to deal with rustbelt city
issues. Its economic base was crumbling. Schoemehl developed 2 projects early in his three terms in office.
He wanted to help St. Louis with these plans: Operation Brightside provided city beautification through
plantings and graffiti cleanup. Schoemehl also instituted a safety program to address crime, known as
Operation SafeStreet, which blocked access to certain through streets and provided low-cost security
measures to homeowners. Crime declined starting in 1984, and despite a small resurgence in 1989,
continued to decline through the 1990’s.

De jure segregation is banned in St. Louis public schools by 1954 via the Brown v. Board of Education
decision. St. Louis area educators did try to use slick tactics in trying to ensure de facto segregation during
the 1960’s. By the 1970’s, there was a lawsuit that fought against de facto segregation. This led to a 1983
settlement agreement. The agreement allowed St. Louis County school districts to accept black students
from the city on a voluntary basis. State funds were used to transport students to provide for an integrated
education. The agreement also called for white students from the county to voluntarily attend city magnet
schools, in an effort to desegregate the City's remaining schools. Despite opposition from state and local
political leaders, the plan significantly desegregated St. Louis schools. In 1980, 82 percent of black students
in the city attended all-black schools, while in 1995, only 41 percent did so. During the late 1990's, the St.
Louis voluntary transfer program was the largest such program in the United States, with more than 14,000
enrolled students. There was a renewed agreement in 1999.

This allowed all but one of the St. Louis County districts agreed to continue their participation, albeit with
an opt-out clause that allowed districts to reduce the number of incoming transfer students starting in
2002. In addition, districts have been permitted to reduce available seats in the program. Since 1999,
districts have reduced availability by five percent annually. A five-year extension of the voluntary transfer
program was approved in 2007. There was another five-year extension that was approved in 2012, allowing
new enrollments to take place through the 2018–2019 school year in participating districts. Critics of the
transfer program note that most of the desegregation under the plan is via transfer of black students to the
county rather than transfer of white students to the city. Another criticism has been that the program
weakens city schools by removing talented students to county schools. Despite these issues, the program
will continue until all transfer students reach graduation; with the last group of transfer students allowed to
enroll in 2018–2019, the program will end after the 2030–2031 school year.

More construction projects existed in St. Louis from 1981 to 1993. This hasn’t been seen since the early
1960’s. The new projects include the tallest building in the city called One Metropolitan Square. It was
designed by Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum. It was built in 1989. New retail projects began to exist like
Amtrak abandoned Union Station as a passenger rail terminal in 1978. Yet, in 1985, it reopened as a festival
marketplace under the direction of Baltimore developer James Rouse. During the same year, downtown
developers opened St. Louis Centre. This was an enclosed four story shopping mall. It costed $176 million
with 150 stores and 1,500,000 square feet (140,000 m2) of retail space. By the late 1990’s, however, the
mall had fallen out of favor due to the expansion of the St. Louis Galleria in Brentwood, Missouri. The mall’s
flagship Dillard’s store closed in 2001. The mall closed in 2006.

Starting in 2010, developers began to convert the mall into a parking structure and an adjoining building
into apartments, hotel, and retail. The city sponsored a major expansion of the St. Louis Convention Center
during the 1980’s. Schoemehl used efforts to retain professional sports teams. The city purchased the
Arena or a 15,000 seat venue for professional ice hockey and that was the home of the St. Louis Blues.
During the early 1990’s, Schoemehl worked with business groups to form a new ice hockey arena (now
known as the Scottrade Center) on the site of the city’s Kiel Auditorium. They promised that the developer
would renovate the adjacent opera house. Although the arena opened in 1994 (and the original arena was
demolished in 1999), renovations on the opera house did not begin until 2007. This was more than 15 years
after the initial development plan. The Peabody Opera House (named for corporate contributor Peabody
Energy) reopened on October 1, 2011, with performances by Jay Leno and Aretha Franklin. In January 1995,
Georgia Frontiere, the owner of the National Football League team known as the Los Angeles Rams (now St.
Louis Rams), announced she would move that team to St. Louis. The team replaced the St. Louis Cardinals
(now Arizona Cardinals), an NFL franchise that had moved to St. Louis in 1960 but departed for Arizona in
1988. The Rams played their first game in their St. Louis stadium, the Edward Jones Dome, on October 22,
1996. By the 2010's, the Rams would go into Los Angeles. Starting in the early 1980's, more rehabilitation
and construction projects began, some of which remain incomplete. In 1981, the Fox Theatre, a movie
theater in Midtown that closed in 1978, was completely restored and reopened as a performing arts venue.
Among the areas to undergo gentrification was the Washington Avenue Historic District, which extends
along Washington Avenue from the Edward Jones Dome west almost two dozen blocks. During the early
1990's, garment manufacturers moved out of the large office buildings on the street, and by the end of that
decade residential developers began to convert the buildings into lofts. Prices per square foot increased
dramatically in the area, and by 2001, nearly 280 apartments were built.
Among the Washington Avenue projects to remain in development is the Mercantile Exchange Building,
which is being converted to offices, apartments, retail, and a movie theater. More Bosnians immigrants
came into St. Louis too. There is a large Mexican, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, and Somalian population in the
city too. The gentrification also has had the effect of increasing the downtown population, with both the
central business district and Washington Avenue district more than doubling their population from 2000 to
2010.
St. Louis in the 21st Century
The 21st century in St. Louis has increasing the downtown the mid-2000’s, the population of
many developments. By the early population, with both the central St. Louis declined. The St. Louis
2000’s, there were many business district and Washington Cardinals since 1999 desired a
rehabilitation and construction Avenue district more than new Busch Stadium. There were
projects in St. Louis. Some of doubling their population from plans for such a stadium in 2002.
these projects were incomplete. 2000 to 2010. Gentrification has There was an agreement in which
Many areas in St. Louis harmed the lives of many poor the state and city would issue
underwent gentrification like the people, black people, and others bonds for construction.
Washington Avenue Historic for years. There was the
District. It goes along renovation of the downtown Old The Cardinals agreed to build a
Washington Avenue from the Post Office. It started in 1998 multipurpose development called
Edward Jones Dome west almost and it was finished in 2006. the St. Louis Ballpark Village on
to a dozen blocks. During the The Old Post Office and seven part of the site of the Busch
early 1990s, garment adjacent buildings had been Memorial Stadium. The new
manufacturers moved out of the vacant since the early 1990’s, but stadium opened in 2006, but
large office buildings on the as of 2010 included a variety of construction has yet to begin on
street, and by the end of that tenants, including a branch of the Ballpark Village. The Forest Park
decade residential developers St. Louis Public Library, a branch Southeast neighborhood near
began to convert the buildings of Webster University, the St. Missouri Botanical Garden and
into lofts. Prices per square foot Louis Business Journal, and a the old Gaslight Square district
increased dramatically in the area, variety of government offices. are also going through extensive
and by 2001, nearly 280 The renovation of the Old Post renovations. Also, it is important
apartments were built. Among Office spurred development of to show what is going on in St.
the Washington Avenue projects an adjacent plaza, which is linked Louis. St. Louis is a Midwestern
to remain in development is the to a new $80 million residential city in Missouri. Missouri has
Mercantile Exchange Building, building called Roberts Tower, been cited as a warning from the
which is being converted to the first new residential NAACP because of incidents of
offices, apartments, retail, and a construction in downtown St. racial oppression against black
movie theater. The gentrification Louis since the 1970's Crime is a America.
also has had the effect of real problem in St. Louis. During
St. Louis was originally inhabited by Native Americans. French explorers lived there and it is now a
multicultural city. Today, the problems of economic oppression, police brutality, and racial oppression (i.e.
redlining, etc.) continue to exist in the city. The protesters are continuing, because a black man was shot
and killed by a cop named Jason Stockley. The black man, who was killed, was Anthony Lamar Smith. Before
the shooting, Stockley bragged in profane terms about wanting to kill the man. After the murder, video
recordings show Stockley going into his police car to get a gun, which he then planted in the car of the dead
victim. Only Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun. Like usual, the cop was acquitted in a disgraceful
fashion. Some cops chanted, "who's streets, our streets," which totally disrespects the aspirations of those
who desire justice.

These are protesters calling for justice in St. Louis over Anthony Lamar
Smith and so many other people.

This time is less than 5 years after the Ferguson movement. We have video footage of cops using tear gas
against mostly peaceful protesters and some cops running over an elderly woman. Many cops are given
total immunity in dealing with prosecution. Trump signed an order re-instituting the federal program that
supplies military weapons and equipment to local and state police forces. We know that Sessions is pro- so-
called "law and order," which is code for mass incarceration and further militarization of the local police
which has been going on for over four decades. Therefore, the struggle for justice continues and we are
apt to defend honor and truth.

Black Lives Matter.


St. Louis Culture
The Culture of St. Louis is very diverse. It includes museums, other attractions, music, performing arts
venues, and religious places as well. In Forest Park, there is the Saint Louis Art Museum. It has art media,
ancient artifacts, and modern or contemporary exhibits. Other art museums in St. Louis include: The
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, located in a building designed by the architect and Pritzker Prize winner
Tadao Ando, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, a non-collecting contemporary art museum.
Broadway shows and other concerts plus speaking events are found in St. Louis’ Fox Theater. There is the
Union Avenue Opera that hosts performances. There is the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra that has
received six Grammy Awards and fifty six nominations. There is no question that St. Louis culture
historically back then and today deals with jazz, blues, rock and roll, and ragtime music.
POET, AUTHOR, SOCIAL ACTIVIST,
COLLEGE PROFESSOR, LOVER OF
TRUTH, AND COURAGEOUS
BLACK WOMAN

True Words

Maya Angelou “Nothing will work


Here is Maya unless you do.”

Angelou and Malcolm –Maya Angelou


X working for liberation
in Africa.
We always celebrate the legacy of Sister Maya Maya Angelou spoke worldwide in the presence of
Angelou. Certainly, she lived a full life filled with students, Presidents, scholars, and just ordinary
interacting with some of the greatest black people human beings, but she always was the same (in her
as close friends and showing the literacy genius powerful countenance) in the presence of diverse
that she always has exhibited. Her story outlines audiences. She never wavered in her commitment
the essence of the human value of black women to liberation and she shown the world her light
and the resilient spirit of black people in general. thoroughly. She always assisted the movements for
She was born in the great city of St. Louis, social change and she always loved black people.
Missouri and lived for 86 years on this Earth. We love her back. In this appreciation, we can
never omit the information of I Know Why the
Today, she is with the ancestors and now we Caged Bird Sings (which was her 1969
certainly reflect on her awe-inspiring life as a autobiography). Any lover of literature should
courageous advocate for freedom and justice. have the chance to read that story. That book is
She was active in the Civil Rights Movement by iconic and shows how important social justice is.
advising the SCLC. She was a friend to Dr. Now, we live near 2020. God is here and the
Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James ancestors are watching. It is certainly our
Baldwin, Abbey Lincoln, and Billie Holiday. responsibility to show the truth and to show our
People should know about Sister Abbey Lincoln, courage to live, to help our people, and to shine
because she was one of the greatest performers our light in favor of liberty.
in our history.
Rest in Power Sister Maya Angelou.
*SOCIAL ACTIVIST*ENTERTAINER*FREEDOM FIGHTER
DURING WORLD WAR II*MAGNIFICENT BLACK WOMAN

Heroic Legend:

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker
came into D.C. to be a We must change the system of education and
part of the 1963 instruction. Unfortunately, history has shown
March on us that brotherhood must be learned, when it
Washington. She should be natural.
spoke at the large rally -Josephine Baker
as well.

Josephine Baker was born in St. She was in many films and fought
Louis on June 3, 1906. She was a Jim Crow apartheid in the United
great entertainer and her life was States. She was a leader and she lived
more than performances. She was an to witness the end of Jim Crow
activist for human equality and forever. She was a hero who aided
justice for black people. Josephine the French Resistance during World
Baker lived in America and traveled War II. She was awarded the Croix
heavily in Europe, especially in de guerre by the French military. She
France. She went into New York was also named a Chevallier of the
City as a young person to witness Legion d’honneur by General
and participate in the Harlem Charles de Gaulle. Later, she would
Renaissance. Worldwide, people live in Paris for the rest of her life.
loved her kindness, her great She lived to be 68 years old and
dancing ability, and her passed away at Paris, France on
performances in Paris. Josephine April 12, 1975.
Baker was one of the black women
to be a worldwide entertainer during Rest in Power Sister
the 20th century. Josephine Baker.
Baker .

La liberté, la liberté et l'égalité sont des mots auxquels


nous croyons. La démocratie est toujours sacro-sainte.
Chuck Berry was born in St. Louis. He performed in the area for
decades until he passed away recently. Miles Davis, who was a great
jazz musician, performed in St. Louis too. Josephine Baker was born
in St. Louis too. In recent years, St. Louis has been home to musical
artists such as Sheryl Crow, Story of the Year, Greek Fire (band) and
The Urge. The region produced alt-country bands such as The Bottle
Rockets and Uncle Tupelo, whose members went on to found Wilco
and Son Volt. Rap and hip hop music artists from the area include Ali,
Murphy Lee, Chingy, and J-Kwon. Several musical clubs in the area
These houses are found in Lafeyette are in the Delmar Loop, including The Pageant and Blueberry Hill.
Square. Their archiecture is filled There are also numerous live music clubs in the South City area,
with Revival, Federal, and Italinate including BB's, Broadway Oyster Bar, Off Broadway, the Way Out
styels. Club, and El Lenador. St. Louis is home to a large number of
religious people. It has 650,000 Catholic people along with 390,000
Evangelical Protestant churches along with 210,000 mainline
Protestant churches. 1.3 million St. Louisans were unclaimed by one of the 188 churches or groups studied
by the Association of Religion Data Archives from 2000. Therefore, the diverse culture of St. Louis is very
beautiful.

By Timothy

Happy Black History Month