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A Map To The Roots Of Ferguson's Civic Unrest

Historians in the News
tags: Ferguson, Civic Unrest



Robert Siegel talks with Dr. Colin Gordon, a history professor at the University of Iowa, about how the map of St. Louis County reveals some of the sources for the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The surprise in Ferguson is not what happened but why it doesn't happen more often. That is Colin Gordon's assessment of the Michael Brown shooting and the unrest that followed it. Doctor Gordon is a Professor of History at the University of Iowa. He has studied the demographics of Ferguson and the other cities and towns that make up St. Louis County. And he says to understand what happened in Ferguson it helps to look at a map of St. Louis County. And Doctor Gordon joins us. Welcome to the program.

COLIN GORDON: Good to be here.

SIEGEL: You wrote recently a piece in "Dissent," you write that the St. Louis Metro Area is Southern in its race relations and Northern in its organization and regulation of property. I get what you mean by Southern in its race relations. What do you mean by Northern when it comes to property?

GORDON: Northern industrial cities - Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit among them - are much more segregated than their southern counterparts. In part as a reaction to the in-migration of African-Americans, particularly during the first and second world wars. So, you get much starker lines of segregation in a setting like St. Louis. And in that particular setting it's between an African-American North side and a largely White South side in the city. And for much of the 20th century a pretty hard line between the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County to the West...

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