Washington University doctoral student Sarah Siegel (PhD 2019) utilized a number of archival collections from the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections in researching her dissertation, “By the People Most Affected”: Model Cities, Citizen Control, and the Broken Promises of Urban Renewal.
St. Louis in the 1960s
“By the People Most Affected” explores the Model Cities program in St. Louis and shows how the program was entwined in “civil rights social history, political history, and urban planning.” St. Louis was the first city to apply for federal grants through the Model Cities program, a facet of President Lyndon Johnson’s 1960s War on Poverty.
In St. Louis, projects were focused in neighborhoods on the North Side, including Old North St. Louis (then Murphy Blair), Montgomery Hyde Park, Carr Square, Pruitt Igoe, and Jeff-Vander-Lou (then Yeatman).
From the Archives
Among the many sources Siegel consulted were the extensive City of St. Louis, Mayor’s Office Records at Washington University Libraries. While these are a rich source of information for the Model City story, Siegel notes they tell only part of the story. There are inherent archival silences in the surviving written documents of our region’s history. Siegel therefore expands her sources, adding interviews and oral histories to ensure the voices of the neighborhood resident, the church organizer, and the everyday citizen are represented.
Yes, posting something every day (ok, nearly every day) is overly ambitious, but that’s my aim now that virtual is our main way to communicate. Follow all the posts in this series at library.wustl.edu/tag/st-louis-history. #ArchivesAtHome
If you have a question about this post or other topics related to St. Louis history, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mrectenwald.
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