Groping Toward Democracy in a Jim Crow City; Priscilla Dowden-White, PhD

Decades before the 1960s, social reformers began planting the seeds for the Modern Civil Rights era. During the period spanning World Wars I and II, St. Louis, Missouri, was home to a dynamic group of African American social welfare reformers. The city’s history and culture were shaped both by those who would construct it as a southern city and by the heirs of New England abolitionism. Allying with white liberals to promote the era’s new emphasis on “the common good,” black reformers confronted racial segregation and its consequences of inequality and, in doing so, helped to determine the gradual change in public policy that led to a more inclusive social order.