New exhibit: Music and Racial Segregation in Twentieth-Century St. Louis: Uncovering the Sources

“St. Louis Municipal Auditorium Dedication, April 14-28 [1934],” brochure in folder “1917-1934,” box 2, Ernst Christopher Krohn Papers, Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.

Scholarly Publishing is proud to announce a new digital exhibit, Music and Racial Segregation in Twentieth-Century St. Louis: Uncovering the Sources. Patrick Burke, Associate Professor of Music at Washington University,  is the project director for this initiative, which was made possible through The Divided City: An Urban Humanities Initiative, a project of the Center for the Humanities and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

Professor Burke, with the assistance of undergraduate interns and archivists and librarians at Washington University and the Missouri History Museum, conducted research on the topic of music and racial segregation in twentieth-century St. Louis. The result of this research is a database of over 500 items pertaining to the subject. The new website makes this database available along with a curated digital exhibit telling stories of five moments, spanning the years from 1923 to 1949, when St. Louis musical institutions either perpetuated practices of segregation or sought to resist them. These stories serve as sobering reminders of the daily indignities that African Americans endured in St. Louis during this era of official segregation. They also reveal the courage and persistence of St. Louisans who fought against racial discrimination and inequality.  And they demonstrate that music, often seen as a diversion from politics, was actually central to political struggles over race and the city.

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