The racist rot that has corroded St. Louis and America


“The imperium of St. Louis (and thus of the United States) is continually framed by the history of genocide, removal, and the expropriation and control of land — all justified in the name of white supremacy.”

Page 6

The recently published book, entitled The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States, by author and historian Walter Johnson chronicles in searing detail the disgusting and shameful racist legacy of metropolitan St. Louis from the days of Lewis & Clark forward to Ferguson. Through this lens, Mr. Johnson (a native of Missouri) also identifies how racism has eroded the city’s chances for global greatness, which was so aspired for throughout much of its history. This historical analysis clearly parallels that of the United States.

“For St. Louis at the turn of the [20th] century was more like the Babylon remembered by the Israelites: presenting itself to the world in the splendor of its boundless ambition, but rotten to the core.”

Page 182

St. Louis is certainly not alone. Other metropolitan areas in the United States have degraded from their zenith in large part due to their blatant and covert racist tendencies. In fact, one can safely say that the United States itself has (and will) never reach its full potential of greatness due to racism, sexism, exploitation, and gender bias towards Native Americans, African-Americans, women, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, and other minority groups. Detroit, Flint, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Birmingham, and Milwaukee are among those cities whose decline can also be partially attributed to negative impacts resulting from racism. Others, like Minneapolis and Atlanta are dangerously perched at the cusp of a similar corrosion and will eventually decline unless they reverse course.

“The basic condition of Black St. Louis in the 1930s (as in decades before and the decades after) was poverty, segregation, and exploitation.”

Page 255

Inclusiveness, diversity, equity, and unity are attributes that we as a nation, a state, a community, or a neighborhood should be constantly striving for each and every day. Until those become a part of every day life, it is hard to imagine the rotting corrosion of hate and bigotry not further weakening the hope of universal prosperity and fellowship. America may have once been the envy of the planet, but for many, if not most Americans, such an appearance was (and is) only a disheartening charade.


Here is a weblink to this informative and important book via*

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This entry was posted in art, book reviews, books, cities, civics, Civil Rights, commerce, culture, demographics, diversity, economic development, feminism, geography, government, health, Highway displacement, history, Housing, human rights, humanity, immigration, inclusiveness, injustice, land use, literature, Native Americans, planning, politics, poverty, racism, Railroads, rivers/watersheds, Sexism, social equity, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, urban design, urban planning, Women, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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