African American History | St. Louis Public Radio

African American History

J. Eric Robinson is an assistant professor of history at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and proprietor of J. E. Robinson tours.
EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

The town of Alton was a major stop for escaped slaves making their way to freedom from St. Louis.

Some runaways stayed in Alton, and some continued north to Canada. Though Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery nationally, it wasn’t necessarily a friendly place to escaped former slaves.

Educators like Jameca Falconer believe it's up to families and communities to help bring black history alive for children of all races, not just schools.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Every February, schools around the nation commemorate the accomplishments of African Americans by highlighting them through Black History Month lessons and programs. Some celebrate with school plays, guest speakers or hallway exhibits of locally and nationally known black figures.

Educators like Jameca Falconer, adjunct professor and director of Webster University’s Applied Educational Psychology and School Psychology program, believe it is the duty of parents of all races — as well as the community — to not limit interest in black culture to February.

Jennifer Colten

Established in 1920, Washington Park Cemetery in Berkeley served as a for-profit burial place for African Americans. Before it stopped operating in the 1980s, the graveyard was the largest African American cemetery in the region.

“It became the premier place for African Americans to be buried, and despite all the racism and prejudice, it thrived,” said art historian Chris Naffziger, author of the blog St. Louis Patina.

The House Of Miles East St. Louis is the focal point of a new tour of some of the city's cultural landmarks. It's listed as an Airbnb "Experience." Organizers hope the tour brings in outside money to the city.
Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

EAST ST. LOUIS — A new weekly tour in the city aims to bring its cultural and historical ties to the fine arts to life. 

Starting Friday, up to 10 participants move through three well-known establishments in East St. Louis, with Miles Davis’ childhood home as the focal point. The Historic Jazz and Poetry Excursion starts at the Culture Cafe restaurant, then heads to House of Miles East St. Louis and finishes at the Local Legends Listening Lounge.  

Discovery Of Bones At Relocated Black Cemetery In Washington Park Sparks Reaction

Nov 8, 2019
Community activist Malissa Blanchard, 69, of Washington Park, would like to see a monument or some other recognition for the old Douglas-Lawnridge Cemetery.
Teri Maddox | Belleville News Democrat

Malissa Blanchard doesn’t know if any of her ancestors were buried in the former Douglas-Lawnridge Cemetery in Washington Park, IL but she can’t rule it out.

She’s black, she grew up in nearby Lovejoy and the cemetery served black families from throughout the region until the 1940s.

Blanchard, 69, of Washington Park, has had an uneasy feeling since last month, when state officials discovered apparent human remains at the site while doing preliminary work for a highway project. The cemetery was supposed to be moved in the 1960s to make way for construction of Interstate 64.