Intersection - The Lasting Impact and Struggle of Missouri's African-American Women | KBIA

Intersection - The Lasting Impact and Struggle of Missouri's African-American Women

Feb 18, 2019

In her book "Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis," MU Professor Keona Ervin delves into the stories and the frontline activism of working-class black women in her native city of St. Louis. 

MU history professor Keona Ervin documents the struggles and achievements of working-class African American women in her book 'Gateway to Equality.'
Credit Janet Saidi / KBIA

The period Ervin documents largely takes place in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s in pre-war and post-war St. Louis. In addition to staging factory walkouts and strikes, these activist women conducted the "cleaning, cooking, sorting, selling, weighing, sewing and riveting" that held their families and communities together. In return, their families, churches, political parties, and communities provided the network that supported and lifted their struggle and its achievements.

In this episode of Intersection, Ervin explains why she was atracted to these stories in her research, how the early activism of these St. Louis women compares to movements like #BlackLivesMatter today, and why it's important to include the work of these laboring African-American women in the historical narrative.

For more information check out this lecture series on the African-American experience in Missouri, including a Tuesday, Feb. 19 lecture with Lincoln University Professor Emeritus Debra Foster Greene. That lecture takes place at 6.30 tomorrow evening, at MU's Memorial Student Untion.