Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs

USCCR Testimony, January 1970

In January of 1970, the United States Commission on Civil Rights held hearings in St. Louis County, to "collect information on the racial implications of suburban development."  The timing was potent: two years earlier, the Supreme Court's decision in Jones v Mayer had extended "equal protection" to private real estate transactions, and African Americans were just beginning to settle in the County's inner suburbs.  Both new arrivals and long-established residents of the County's older African-American enclaves testified to pervasive patterns of discrimination and segregation in housing, schooling, policing and employment; to the uneven provision of services across the County; and to the racial logic of urban renewal.  Below are a few excerpts from that powerful testimony.  

Testimony of Larman Williams, on moving to Ferguson, MO
Testimony of Adel Allen, on city services in Kirkwood and Meacham Park
Testimony of Adel Allen, on policing and schools
Discussion of urban renewal and relocation in St. Louis County
Testimony of Adel Allen and Larman Williams on schooling in North County
Testimony of Adel Allen and Mrs. Larman Williams on policing and schooling in St. Louis County
Adel Allen, Concluding Thoughts

The filmmaker Jane Gillooly discovered these audio files, and created the digital files from the Records of the Commission (RG 453) at the National Archives, during her research for the documentary Where the Pavement Ends (2018).  I am indebted to her for that bit of detective work, and for generously sharing the files.

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