If you're looking for context behind the news of today, check out our project St. Louis History in Black & White, a compilation of interviews about civil rights and race relations in St. Louis.
This selection of St. Louis on the Air episodes covers major events from the Dred Scott case to lesser-known entities like the Black Artists' Group; explores experiences of black soldiers in World War II and growing up black in St. Louis in the last century. We have assembled photos, videos and essays to supplement the audio interviews from St. Louis on the Air.
It's also newly updated and mobile-friendly. All of the audio can be downloaded as a podcast. Or visitors can browse the site, listen and watch on a computer or mobile device. An interactive timeline highlights events from the series.
Don Marsh, the impetus behind the project, describes the need for such a documentation:
In August of 2014, the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, ripped a scab from the long tenuous and often tortured relationship between black and white people, revealing that race relations were still in need of significant mending. Not only here in St. Louis, but all over the country.
Missouri in general, and the St. Louis region in particular, became a symbol of racial inequity, as well as resulting economic and social justice disparities.
Ferguson brought new attention to the existence of these disparities all across the nation. It gave a bigger voice to the Black Lives Matter movement, whose protestors demonstrated across the country, demanding a level playing field for all. The movement was given significant impetus by the shooting deaths of numerous young Black men at the hands of White police officers in the months following Brown’s death. The country experienced an increased degree of racial polarization: polarization that had existed either undetected or ignored just below, and sometimes not so far below, the surface of American society.