‘How Did We Get Here?’ Series Explores Modern Quests to Contextualize Racism and Anti-Blackness Through a Historical Lens’
Across the St. Louis region, once-prosperous Black neighborhoods have disappeared. These lost communities are one of the many points of historical reference for the unrest that’s making headlines across the country. To learn more about the disinvestment of these neighborhoods, mark your calendar for Tuesday, July 28, to attend a virtual presentation titled “History of St. Louis Black Neighborhoods.”
The evening’s speaker is Dr. John Wright, a historian and author who focuses on the impact of white flight, racial segregation, zoning and corporate development on Black neighborhoods across the region, from Brentwood to Kinloch. Wright is the author of several books, including “St. Louis: Disappearing Black Communities.” He’ll be joined by moderator Gwen Moore, curator of Urban Landscape and Community Identity for the Missouri Historical Society.
The July 28 event is part of the new series “How Did We Get Here? Conversations about Race, Anti-Blackness, and Identity.” The 10 sessions feature both virtual speakers and in-person, socially distanced wellness events organized by the Missouri Historical Society’s African American History Initiative. The AAHI’s programs use history to promote greater cultural understanding and collaborative efforts to strengthen ties between communities.
“With this series, the Missouri Historical Society builds on its commitment to explore complex historical and contemporary issues through meaningful dialogue,” says Dr. Frances Levine, president of the Missouri Historical Society. “The ‘How Did We Get Here’ series will allow us to address and examine contemporary issues of race, equity and inclusion through the historical lens.”
Other events in the series include two youth activism workshops (July 22 and Aug. 12); Just Breathe STL, a five-week intergenerational summer wellness experience on the lawn of the Missouri History Museum (July 15-Aug. 12); and a conversation about pioneering data journalist Ida B. Wells and today’s street journalism (Aug. 4).
“This new AAHI series will help Black, white, people of color, and indigenous populations gain a greater understanding of race relations in this region and how race and anti-blackness keep the region divided,” says Shakia Gullette, director of African American History Initiatives for the Missouri Historical Society. “Building upon the work of local historians and national thought leaders, the series allows us to root the conversations in fact and history.”
To attend “History of St. Louis Black Neighborhoods,” click on the Zoom meeting link from the event page on Tuesday, July 28, from 6:30-8 p.m. For more information about the other events in the “How Did We Get Here” series, visit the Missouri Historical Society’s website.