It’s a rabbit-hole, yes. But one that’s well worth going down in as I immerse myself in the racial past and present of St. Louis. It’s fascinating. It’s depressing. It’s a must.
As the editor of a new Corporation for Public Broadcasting-funded “diversity” coverage initiative, I am based at St. Louis Public Radio and supervise a team of four reporters: One is here; the others are in Kansas City, Hartford and Portland, Ore. While the paperwork for the CPB grant says “diversity,” I feel like this whole initiative will be more about identity: About how Americans think of themselves and about “the other,” in their communities.
In this regard, the issue of where St. Louis people lived and live looms large. The scars of redlining, blockbusting and segregation seem to be everywhere–once you know where to look. Could Ferguson have happened as it did elsewhere? Yes, certainly. But it happened here–how and when it did–for reasons that have to do with both race and place.
So here’s what I’ve been reading, watching and listening to:
Pruitt–Igoe (The Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments)