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Poll: State Of Race Relations In St. Louis

The book St. Louis Day-By-Day by  Frances Hurd Stadler is fascinating, the entry for January 13th tells a chilling story from 175 years ago:

ABOVE: The old Courthouse in September 2011
ABOVE: The old Courthouse in September 2011

Nathan Brown, newly arrived in St. Louis, wrote to his brother in the East, relating: “I witnessed the sale today by auction of a very interesting young negro boy, 15 years old — sold for $457-1/2. The little fellow was exhibited on the table the same as any other article — and examined by being made to walk back and forth, & by feeling his joints as one would examine a horse. The little fellow appeared to realize his condition and when the big tear rolled down his cheek would merely brush it aside and hold his head up with an air & manner which won him the sympathies of a great number of the spectators. I certainly never have seen a more submissive imploring look than he exhibited as soon as he was sold; his feelings were vented in floods of tears.” While some slave auctions –usually those held to settle estates–took place on the steps of the Old Courthouse, most sales were effected by private dealers who kept notorious slave pens. Ironically, one of these  served as a federal prison during the Civil War.

According to this inflation calculator $457.50 in 1838 is equal to $9,515.96 in 2011 dollars. Wow, for a person! We’ve come a long way in the 175 years since but I don’t think we’re where we need to be.

The poll question this week asks your view on the state of race relations in St. Louis. Improving? Declining? Holding Steady? The poll question is in the right sidebar and the provided answers are presented in a random order.

— Steve Patterson


Hello Twenty-Thirteen

January 1, 2013 Popular Culture 1 Comment

Most will say “two thousand (and) thirteen”, as I’m sure I’ll say a few times.

This comes as a surprise to some observers of English usage. From 2001 to 2009, it made sense to use the longer “two thousand” version of year names. The template was actually set way back in 1968, when Stanley Kubrick’s movie “2001” was marketed as “two thousand and one,” not “twenty oh one”—despite the precedent of pronouncing 1901 as “nineteen oh one” (or “nineteen aught one” if you want to sound particularly old-timey). (Boston Globe)

But I ask that everyone stop with “two thousand” and say “twenty.” But no matter how you pronounce it, have a great 2013!

— Steve Patterson


Poll: What Can/Should Be Done To Reduce Gun Violence?

The tragedy in Newtown CT on Friday has left myself and others wondering what, if anything, can be done to at least reduce the number of such incidences. Facebook, Twitter and other forums have been filled with passionate discussion from all perspectives. I don’t know the answer, I wish I did.

With a lot of reservation the poll question this week asks what can/should be done to reduce gun violence. The poll is in the right sidebar, I’ve provided a wide range of answers to choose from. When commenting below please be respectful to others.

— Steve Patterson


PrideFest 2013 Move Downtown Controversial

Peoples often dislike when an event that’s been held in a location for a long time moves to a different location, a recent example is the Annie Malone May Day Parade:

The parade moved downtown in 2006 in hopes of increasing community-wide participation, but has struggled to maintain the level of support it once enjoyed when the parade was held in north St. Louis. (KMOX)

I never saw the parade in north St. Louis but I have seen it a few times downtown, so more of the St. Louis community has participated.

A marching band heads east on Market Street during the 2010 Annie Malone parade on May 16, 2010.

Now we have a very similar controversy about the 2013 PrideFest parade, the annual LGBT event:

Pride St. Louis, Inc. is making some exciting changes in its 34th year. This year, the festival will be held in the heart of downtown St. Louis, at Soldiers Memorial. That means tourists and visitors will be able to enjoy the festival as well as taking in the amenities and iconic scenery of the Gateway City. (Vital Voice)

But not everyone in the LGBT community supports the change of venue from South Grand and Tower Grove Park. A Facebook page called Keep Pride in Tower Grove was started  and a rally will be held today at 5pm and then at 7pm try to convince the Pride board to reconsider the change (event).

ABOVE: From the 2011 PrideFest parade on south Grand

When I moved to St. Louis in 1990 as a 23 year-old gay man the CWE was the center of the LGBT community. In 1998 the community was in uproar when the parade was moved from its longtime home of Euclid/Forest Park to South Grand/Tower Grove Park. The event has an interesting history.

History does repeat itself.

— Steve Patterson


Today Is Rosa Parks Day

December 1, 2012 Featured, History/Preservation, Politics/Policy, Popular Culture, Public Transit Comments Off on Today Is Rosa Parks Day

Today marks an important day in history:

ABOVE: The #10 (Gravois-Lindell) MetroBus at Gravois & Jefferson

Most historians date the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in the United States to December 1, 1955. That was the day when an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. This brave woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her lonely act of defiance began a movement that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere. (source)

I was born less than a dozen years later, my oldest brother was 5.  I can’t imagine  the kind of trouble I’d have gotten into trying to fight racial segregation.  Or would I have thought it was the way the world worked?

— Steve Patterson