Racial Divide | St. Louis Public Radio

Racial Divide

Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books, stand next to the ResiSTL display table.
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

The protests in St. Louis over the last three weeks have topped the news almost daily.

Even for those who stay up on what’s happening, there may be questions about how this came to pass again, just three years after race-related protests in Ferguson.

Delving into St. Louis’ history of racial division and relations between police and black people can seem overwhelming. St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman set out to make a reading list with recommendations from people who are used to being asked.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, Brother Emile of the Taizé Community and Rev. Starsky Wilson joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss an upcoming pilgrimage in St. Louis over Memorial Day weekend.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Several years ago, the archbishop of St. Louis, Robert Carlson, had a discussion with a group of black pastors about an idea for people of different races, ethnicities and backgrounds to come together and talk to each other. Unfortunately, that effort failed.

And then, events unfolded in Ferguson. After the police shooting death of Michael Brown and the protests that followed, Carlson said, “I knew in my heart that we needed to get people to sit down and talk to each other, to understand and to know one another.”

Kirkwood High School increased the number of students taking AP tests last school year by about 200, largely through encouraging more students of color to enroll.
File photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Kirkwood School District is hoping to speed up plans for comprehensive staff diversity training in the wake of controversy over blackface at the high school last month.

The district’s racial equity plan created last school year originally called for the training to take place during the 2017 - 2018 school year.

Marshall Griffin|St. Louis Public Radio

One year ago this week the University of Missouri's flagship campus in Columbia was in turmoil.

University of Missouri System president Tim Wolfe abruptly announced his resignation Nov. 9 as his leadership and handling of issues of race were strongly criticized. Several hours later, R. Bowen Loftin said he would be leaving his post as chancellor of the system's Columbia campus to coordinate university research.

Hank Foley was then moved from research  work for the system and the Columbia campus to become interim chancellor at Mizzou..

St. Louis area Catholics and other residents pause to pray at the corner of Delmar Boulevard and Sarah Street in St. Louis, during the Crossing the Delmar Divide pilgrimage.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

About 250 St. Louis area Catholics and other residents symbolically walked across Delmar Boulevard, the street signifying the city’s racial and economic divides, as part of what they called a “pilgrimage” Saturday.

Parkway North sophomore Israel Lewis puts a bracelet on Carla Gronsborg's wrist as her son Henry shows her his bracelet on Sat. May, 7, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A student organization launched after the unrest in Ferguson spent their Saturday encouraging baseball fans to be a positive force in St. Louis.

Outside Busch Stadium before the Cardinals game students with Gateway2Change started conversations with baseball fans by handing out bracelets made of seeds.

Naomi Tutu speaks about the reconciliation process she witnessed in South Africa Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis. Her father, Desmond Tutu, was chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The daughter of the man who led South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says facing harsh truths and recognizing the humanity of those who are different could help heal racial divides in St. Louis.

Naomi Tutu, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn., led a discussion about reconciliation and racial justice Sunday at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis.

The "Nuns on the Bus" social justice bus tour arrives in Keiner Plaza in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, as the first stop in a seven-state journey.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

A national Catholic social justice organization made St. Louis the first stop on its seven-state bus tour as it travels the country ahead of Pope Francis' upcoming U.S. visit. 

Goldie Taylor
Robert Ector Photography

As discussions about race relations continue across the nation, many people are working to bridge the gaps.

Goldie Taylor, former St. Louisan and senior editor for Blue Nation Review, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to talk about the issues and importance of social equality. Taylor is also a contributor for CNN and HLN, and a former contributor for MSNBC.

Protesters in Ferguson in August 2014
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Recent incidents from Ferguson to Baltimore regarding police and community relationships have fostered other uncomfortable truths on the state of racial affairs in America. Many wonder what can be done to address the age-old issue or if there is any one particular act that will solve it.

What about the “truth?”

Terrell Carter is pastor of the mostly-white Webster Groves Baptist Church
Terrell Carter / Courtesy Photo

Since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the subsequent community unrest, dialogue about racial division in the St. Louis area became a frequent topic. Additionally, many people vowed to come together and address the apparent ‘invisible line’ separating black and white residents in the region.

Commentary: Progress on race doesn't mean the end of racism

Jun 16, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - What does it all mean? Landmark after landmark. Contradiction after contradiction. What does it mean when in the past weeks we have seen a biracial man clinch the Democratic nomination and a town in Mississippi host its FIRST integrated prom?

Can adoption be colorblind?

Jun 12, 2008
braiding a young African-American girl's hair 300 pxls 2008
Kristen Hare | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - Maryanne Dersch's white fingers reach into a slippery tub of conditioner. She smoothes it into her daughter's soft black hair.

"Are you gonna be a good girl? Good beauty shop?" Dersch asks Taylor, 2, who's seated at the island in her new family's St. Louis kitchen.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Hurricane Katrina reinforced that race colors how we perceive the world and events around us. Our fear of talking about race paired with our flawed goal to be "colorblind" has left us having parallel conversations rather than a collaborative dialogue. Some say racism is anachronistic while others experience its relevance daily.