St. Louis History in Black and White

A mob stops a street car during the East St. Louis race riots, which started on July 2, 1917. An estimated 500 people were killed over the course of two days.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Libraries

One hundred years after the 1917 East St. Louis race riots a permanent monument to victims will be dedicated, and educational programs, musical and theatrical presentation, and other events will be held.

The East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative announced its plans Wednesday. Commission vice chairman Edmond Brown, president of ELB Enterprises, said the monument will “commemorate those lost during that time, to act as a point of education as well as for healing of the community.” Commission chairman, the Rev. Joseph Brown, a professor of Africana studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, said there will also be “rituals taking place around East St. Louis to respect the places where we know people were murdered.”

ZACK STOVALL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

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. 

A preview of the historical timeline you will find at "St. Louis History in Black and White."
Zack Stovall, Katelyn Mae Petrin

St. Louis’ racial history is a big part of what the community is today. For many years, St. Louis Public Radio has hosted an online history that highlights some of the big historical events that St. Louisans, and those who take an interest in St. Louis from the outside, should know about to understand how the city functions today.

The Veiled Prophet and his Queen of Love and Beauty at the 2015 VP Parade in Forest Park.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated July 8, 2015 to clarify the origin of the 1878 newspaper image and to correct the name of the accessories carried by the parade's horsemen.

Crowds decked out in red, white and blue were treated to a feast for the eyes and ears at the VP Parade Saturday morning in Forest Park. The parade had something for everyone, from marching bands and massive floating balloons to elaborate floats and superheroes driving four-wheelers and passing out candy. There were even Elvis impersonators and a Chinese dragon brigade.

But tucked in-between Elvis and a gardening float was a scene out of a bygone era. A troupe of men carrying ceremonial lances rode up first on horses decked out with the VP emblem. Then came two floats designed to look like chariots: the first pulled by a dragon, the second by a pair of swans. Enthroned on both chariots were women in elaborate gowns and men with their faces obscured by lacy veils.

(via Flickr/OregonDOT)

Earlier this year the Corporation for Public Broadcasting awarded NPR a $1.5 million grant to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America.