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Discussing The 'Delmar Divide': A Line Of Stark Racial And Economic Division In St. Louis

(via Flickr/Eric Fischer)
This map, using 2010 census data, gives a birds-eye view of race in St. Louis. Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot is 25 people.

The “Delmar Divide” refers to Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis.  It is a street which runs east/west and to a large extent separates the racial make-up of the city.  In a sample of households north and south of Delmar, residents south of Delmar Boulevard are 73% white, while residents north of Delmar are 98% African American, as the BBC pointed out in, “Crossing a St. Louis street that divides communities,” last year.

In addition, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann, provided this coverage.

In advance of a panel discussion at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, host Don Marsh and producer Erin Williams talked with Alderman Antonio French of the 21st ward, Alderwoman Lyda Krewson of the 28th ward, and Sandra Moore, President of Urban Strategies, a St. Louis-based organization which focuses on rebuilding urban communities.

Antonio French, pointed out that citywide the racial make-up north of Delmar is 93.6% African American and 4.5% white, while south of Delmar it is 28.9% African American and 63% white.  However, “One thing people need to understand is that all of North St. Louis is not the same,” he said.

A frank discussion of racism in St. Louis continued and the panelists agreed it is a problem, and has been for many years.  “Americans taught themselves not to smoke in twenty years. St. Louisans can teach themselves not to be racist in far less time,” said Sandra Moore.

Lyda Krewson ended the conversation with a remark, hoping that people could leave the conversation with “at least one action step.”

Related Event

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Missouri History Museum Present "Crossing the Delmar Divide"
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
7:30 p.m.

The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, 3716 Washington Boulevard

More information here.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Mary Edwards came to St. Louis Public Radio in 1974, just after finishing her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She has served the station in a number of capacities over the years. From 1988-2014 she also taught an undergraduate class in radio production at Webster University. Mary was inducted into the St. Louis Media History Foundation Media Hall of Fame in April, 2017 and received the Gateway Media Literacy Partners' Charles Klotzer Media Literacy Award in 2012. Mary retired from St. Louis Public Radio in 2018, but still serves the station as a St. Louis Symphony Producer.
Don Marsh served as host of St. Louis Public Radio’s “St. Louis on the Air" from 2005 to 2019, bringing discussions of significant topics to listeners' ears at noon Monday through Friday. Don has been an active journalist for 58 years in print, radio and television. He has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards for writing, reporting, and producing. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame in 2013, and named “Media Person of the Year” by the St. Louis Press Club in 2015. He has published three books: his most recent, “Coming of Age, Liver Spots and All: A Humorous Look at the Wonders of Getting Old,” “Flash Frames: Journey of a Journeyman Journalist” and “How to be Rude (Politely).” He holds an honorary Doctor of Arts and Letters degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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