Lift Every Voice and Sing: St. Louis African Americans in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Initially a project to preserve the stories of men and women who lived in the Ville—a black neighborhood in St. Louis known for its business leaders and educators—Doris Wesley's work soon took on a larger purpose. Lift Every Voice and Sing pairs Wesley's profiles of one hundred prominent African American citizens with Wiley Price's stunning photographs of each, offering an intimate look at what it was like to live in a segregated city. Revealing the challenges faced by blacks throughout a tumultuous century, the ...

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Overview

Initially a project to preserve the stories of men and women who lived in the Ville—a black neighborhood in St. Louis known for its business leaders and educators—Doris Wesley's work soon took on a larger purpose. Lift Every Voice and Sing pairs Wesley's profiles of one hundred prominent African American citizens with Wiley Price's stunning photographs of each, offering an intimate look at what it was like to live in a segregated city. Revealing the challenges faced by blacks throughout a tumultuous century, the profiles feature people from various fields, including doctors, educators, musicians, journalists, men and women in business, pastors, and civil rights leaders. They each relate their experiences of racism, the obstacles they overcame in their professions, and the lessons life has taught them.

The book opens with an overview of St. Louis in the twentieth century, providing a historical context for the profiles. A segregated city up through the 1950s, St. Louis became a birthplace of civil rights. A number of organizations in the city fought for equality, including an early chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, which sponsored pickets, boycotts, and sit-ins. The community's African American lawyers sent several important civil rights cases to the U.S. Supreme Court. Citizens also worked together to create an effective political machine that garnered work for blacks despite the segregated job market.

The individuals represented in Lift Every Voice and Sing witnessed firsthand the events that changed the face of their city and the nation. Their accounts, both engaging and insightful, present a unique perspective on the African American community of St. Louis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"When I was in high school in 1942, the last lynching in Missouri took place in Sikeston. Cleo Wright, a black man, was accused of molesting a white woman, and he was lynched by a mob. The U.S. attorney, here in St. Louis, could not get any witnesses to testify against the crowd that lynched him. Mr. Guy Ruffin, who taught me history at Vashon, drove me and a couple other high school students down to Sikeston, to try to find witnesses. And I will never forget the difficulty we had. We drove into the Negro part of town, and a police car followed behind us. They didn't interfere with us, but they followed behind us. Every time we knocked on a door, the shades would be pulled down, and nobody would talk to us. The people were so frightened when they saw the police car behind us that they wouldn't come out and talk to us. And Mr. Ruffin said, If you students will become lawyers, maybe you can fight this and make changes in the law.' And that was one of the things that motivated me to go to law school."—Clyde S. Cahill, Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826212535
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


About the Editors and Photographer

Doris A. Wesley is Reference Specialist at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Wiley Price is a prize-winning photojournalist for the St. Louis American.

Ann Morris is Associate Director at the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is coauthor of North Webster: A Photographic History of a Black Community.

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Table of Contents

Alphabetical Listing of Narratives x
Foreword xii
About the Lift Every Voice and Sing Project xiii
A Note from the Chancellor xiv
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction 1
Portraits and Narratives
Bennie G. Rodgers 20
Lorraine O. Gasaway 22
Robert Carter 24
Olivia Calloway 26
Weldon Young 28
Oscar C. Farmer 30
Famelia Kennedy 32
Madeline S. Turner 34
Clyde S. Cahill 36
John F. Bass 38
J. B. "Jet" Banks 40
Joyce M. Thomas 42
Theoplis "Ted" Hudson Sr. 44
Alfred J. Ford 46
Antoinette C. "Toni" Robinson 48
Clifton W. Gates 50
Bettie Mae Taylor 52
Virgil Akins 54
Thelma Jackson Bates 56
Paul L. Miller Jr. 58
Ivan C. James Jr. 60
Vivian E. Dreer 62
Joseph M. Robinson 64
Eddie Randle Sr. 66
Frank Harrold 68
Clarice D. Davis 70
Earl E. Nance Sr. 72
Lloyd A. Smith 74
Zella Jackson Price 76
Melba A. Sweets 78
Theodore McMillian 80
Carl N. Thomas 82
Elizabeth W. Garlington 84
Everett Agnew 86
John E. Ware 88
James M. Whittico 90
Lawrence Nicholson 92
George H. Carper 94
Ora Lee Malone 96
John H. Gladney 98
Frank O. Richards 100
Marion J. Brooks 102
Sylvester LeClaire Smith 104
Ida O. Scott 106
Clifford H. Frazier 108
Doris A. Frazier 110
Colleen McCaine Johnson 112
Henrietta Ambrose 114
Walter S. Lathen 116
Benny W. Gordon Jr. 118
Hutcher L. Dixon 120
Kennard O. Whitfield 122
Mae F. Wheeler 124
Julius K. Hunter 126
Margaret Bush Wilson 128
Ira M. Young 130
Anita L. Bond 132
Leslie F. Bond 134
Dorothy Thomas Matlock 136
Joseph Palmer 138
Jane Woods Miller 140
William A. Pearson 142
Lou "Fatha" Thimes 144
Billye Haley Crumpton 146
William G. Gillespie 148
Samuel W. Hylton Jr. 150
Frankie Muse Freeman 152
Daniel T. Tillman 154
Bernie Hayes 156
John A. Wright 158
Betty Jean Kerr 160
Lynn Beckwith Jr. 162
Henry Givens Jr. 164
Norman R. Seay 166
William L. Clay 168
Martin L. Mathews 170
Oliver Sain 172
Pearlie I. Evans 174
Stanley Newsome 176
Clarence Harmon 178
Jean King Chavis 180
Betty L. Thompson 182
Leonard Robinson 184
Charles Mischeaux 186
Percy Green II 188
Wayman F. Smith III 190
James H. Buford 192
Prince A. Wells III 194
Hazel E. Hunter 196
Jean Patterson Neal 198
Sherman George 200
Michael V. Roberts 202
Steven C. Roberts 204
Odell E. McGowan 206
Doris Moore Glenn 208
Donald M. Suggs 210
Patricia and Fredrick McKissack 212
Freeman Bosley Jr. 214
George Sams 216
Kathryn E. Nelson 218
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