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Civil Rights Activist Percy Green And Writer Devin Thomas O’Shea On All Things Veiled Prophet

From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
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From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.
From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
/
From left, Percy Green and Devin Thomas O'Shea joined Wednesday's talk show.

Later this week several longstanding St. Louis traditions get underway, including Fair St. Louis and the VP Parade. Both events have connections to the Veiled Prophet Organization, which was founded in 1878 by white elites.

The organization and its regular celebrations are associated with civic pride and philanthropy – and with controversy, secretive rituals and protest.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Shula Neuman looked back on Veiled Prophet history and consider the organization’s evolution and ongoing influence. Joining her to talk about it were two guests with particular interests in the topic.

Percy Green is a prominent civil rights activist perhaps best known for scaling the Gateway Arch 55 years ago. Devin Thomas O’Shea is a Chicago-based freelance writer who recently finished an as-yet-unpublished novel inspired by the city’s Veiled Prophet traditions.

Listen to the conversation:

Producer's note: The talk show team invited the Veiled Prophet Organization to send a representative to join today's show. Citing the busyness of preparations for this week's holiday festivities, the group declined the request but indicated it would consider a future invitation.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Alex Heuer, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Evie Hemphill joined the St. Louis on the Air team in February 2018. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature in 2005, she started her career as a reporter for the Westminster Window in Colorado. Several years later she went on to pursue graduate work in creative writing at the University of Wyoming and moved to St. Louis upon earning an MFA in the spring of 2010. She worked as writer and editor for Washington University Libraries until 2014 and then spent several more years in public relations for the University of Missouri–St. Louis before making the shift to St. Louis Public Radio.