Civil Rights | St. Louis Public Radio

Civil Rights

U.S. Civil Rights Commission discusses Ferguson in St. Louis
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri committee that keeps an eye on civil rights violations is the latest body to wade into the discussion about improving police-community relations after the August 2014 death of Michael Brown.

The 12-member Missouri Advisory Committee heard a full day of testimony from academics, law enforcement and community leaders. The committee's chairman, S. David Mitchell, said two public comment periods were the most important part. 

Sherrilyn Ifill participates in the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 2013.
afagen via Flickr

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, had planned to discuss the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision during her trip to St. Louis. That changed after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson.

Civil disobedience is a likely next step among those protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Highway shutdowns plans, for example, were announced last weekend, and there was a small short-lived shutdown then. Additional shutdowns are planned.

Frankie Muse Freeman at a gathering of local civil rights activists in 2014
Stephanie Zimmerman | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis attorney Frankie Muse Freeman helped to set the tone Wednesday when she summed up what it meant to be a young civil rights activist during the '60s.

“We were all branded troublemakers,” she said, “and I’m proud of that.”

Undated Family Photo

In 1983, James DeClue beat James DeClue for the position of president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. James F. DeClue, a Baptist minister and corporate executive, led the city NAACP for much of the 1980s, despite a serious challenge from his cousin, the late Dr. James A. DeClue. The Rev. DeClue died last week at the age of 86.

Mustard Seed Theater

Alicia Reve' Like plays Nella, a bright patch in an Alabama family whose quilts tell stories of segregation and the civil rights movement.

Last February, Alicia Reve' Like portrayed a motel maid who whooped up on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Black Rep’s “The Mountaintop,” the story of King’s last hours.

Adam Bielawski / via Wikimedia Commons

Despite a musical career that has spanned decades and provided inspiration for the civil rights movement, until recently the only information available about the Staple Singers was from interviews, articles and songs.

A new biography by Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot changes all that by providing the back story of the musical family in book form for the first time. With a nod to two hit songs, the book is titled “I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway.”

(via Wikimedia Commons / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

In the summer of 1963, hundreds of thousands across the nation converged on Washington, D.C. to march for jobs and freedom.

Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, local civil rights activists were gearing up for a demonstration of their own: a picket line and sit-in at Jefferson Bank, also calling for equal employment for African Americans. Despite being located in an African American neighborhood, the only African Americans employed by the bank worked as janitors.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The world has little noted nor long remembered what Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson said at Gettysburg 50 years ago today but Johnson’s address at that hallowed spot on May 30, 1963, provided an important link in the battle for civil rights one half century ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In 1963, when it appeared that blacks protesting the discriminatory practices at Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. in St. Louis were not being taken seriously, Dr. Jerome Williams thought it was time to step up and step in.

He organized doctors and other professionals to join the marchers.

“Jerome Williams did a fantastic job of organizing support,” said civil rights activist Norman R. Seay. “We saluted him because so many people were against what we were doing, even many middle-class blacks.”

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, a 14-year old Carolyn McKinstry witnessed an event that would change her life forever – the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The incident killed Carolyn's four friends - and would become an recurring topic of conversation and lasting mark on America's history to this day.

Random House

As the daughter of civil rights figure and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Paula Young Shelton found herself surrounded by many an activist during her childhood in Atlanta. Her fond recollections include spending time with her “Uncle Martin,” Martin Luther King Jr., and being carried on her father’s back during the Selma to Montgomery March as African Americans fought for equal voting rights. She captures and elaborates upon these moments in her children’s book, “Child Of The Civil Rights Movement.” She was in town recently with the Hands On Black History Museum to read her book to St.

Wikimedia Commons

A new poll shows gay marriage has seen a sharp jump in support among Illinois voters.

The poll by Southern Illinois University's Simon Public Policy Institute found that 44 percent of voters support legalizing gay marriage. That's up 10 points from two years ago.

Nearly one-third of voters said they back civil unions for gay couples. Only 20 percent oppose legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Pollsters interviewed 1,261 registered voters by phone between Sept. 4 and Sept. 10. The margin of error is 3 points plus or minus.

The historic entrance arch to the Lewis Place neighborhood, which will receive state aid nearly a year after a tornado damaged 91 homes in the area.
Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is freeing up $1 million dollars to fund repairs to a historic north side neighborhood damaged in last year’s New Years Eve tornado.

The storm damage in St. Louis was not enough to qualify for federal disaster aid.

City officials announced on Monday that uninsured property owners on Lewis Place could qualify for up to $30,000 for repairs.

The storm damaged roughly 150 buildings on Lewis Place, a site know for its lush green median and historic footnote in St. Louis’ Civil Rights struggle.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

On Wednesday, students at the City Academy, a private school in north St. Louis, will have a chance to view a civil rights documentary shot and edited by their schoolmates.

photo by Aaron Doerr

Bobby Norfolk was driving somewhere in 2009 when NPR's Fresh Air stopped him in his tracks.  He remembers the interview with author Larry Tye as "the most compelling hour of listening" he's ever experienced. Tye's biography of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige started Norfolk on a journey that's culminated in his latest one man show,  Shadowball: The Negro Baseball Leagues.

A civil-rights bridge with Obama's visit

Mar 10, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Tonight Sister Antona Ebo will deliver the invocation at the fundraising dinner at which President Barack Obama will be guest of honor. Forty-Five years ago to the day, she was part of a group of St. Louisans who went to Selma, Ala., in reaction to "Bloody Sunday," three days before on March 7, 1965.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During an interview with the Beacon last summer, noted civil rights lawyer Frankie Freeman said she was ready to wind down, take life easy after more than a half century of civil rights work and public and private appointments. But duty has called once again, and she couldn't say no. She seldom can when the issue involves education and city schools.

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