ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Mapping Police Violence in St. Louis

By Ashley Jackson (PhD Student, Brown School WU) on September 17, 2020

Racial Violence, Legacies, and Reckoning Heightened awareness around the issue of police violence has ensued amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, but for many, this social issue is all too familiar. The highly publicized deaths of Michael Brown in our own city of St. Louis and the recent kil...

ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Free Speech by Students

By Miranda Rectenwald on July 21, 2020

Speaking up for the rights of young people in our society has long been a part of the ACLU of Missouri’s mission. Early efforts included speaking out against comic book censorship in the 1950s and ensuring that the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights were taught to students in the 1960...

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ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Podcast

By Miranda Rectenwald on July 16, 2020

St. Louis on the Air Podcast On July 1, 2020, the ACLU-MO@100 project was featured on St. Louis on the Air. The podcast episode is entitled The Intertwined History—and Future—of St. Louis and the 100-Year-Old ACLU and features a discussion by Washington University Libraries’ curator of Loca...

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ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Prison Conditions

By Miranda Rectenwald on July 14, 2020

The ACLU does not represent people in criminal cases.  Rather, it documents and looks for patterns of civil rights violations occurring in jails and prisons.  Investigative reports are published to give the public, lawmakers, and prison officials accurate information about overlooked rights viola...

ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Privacy

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 25, 2020

Privacy Project Technology concerns began in the 1950s, over government officials listening to phone calls or surveilling private conversations. By the 1970s, more and more personal information was stored on new computer systems, both corporate and governmental. The ACLU of Eastern Missouri (as i...

ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Reproductive Freedom

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 23, 2020

Access to Abortions at City Hospital On August 16, 1974, when a St. Louis City resident (“Jane Doe”) had complicated health problems, doctors at the public City Hospital No. 1 told her to obtain a medical abortion elsewhere before returning for a needed hysterectomy. This required her to undergo ...

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ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Mrs. Dorothy King

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 19, 2020

War on Drugs? In 1972, 15 federal Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (D.A.L.E.) officers arrived with a search warrant for Dorothy and Gene King’s home on Emerson Avenue in St. Louis City. A few grams of heroin were found hidden in the basement drain and behind an air conditioner. Gene King and three oth...

newspaper clipping "Warning shots allowed in some municipalities"

ACLU-MO History Spotlight: Police Use of Deadly Force

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 17, 2020

Mattis Case In 1971, two teenagers—Michael Mattis (age 17) and Tomas Rolf (age 18)—were found in a golf course shed in St. Louis County. Police responded to a burglary call. In the dark, police officer Richard Schnarr ordered Mattis to stop, then fired a shot, which struck his head and killed him...

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ACLU-MO History Spotlight: LGBTQ+ Equity

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 8, 2020

LGBTQ+ Equity In 1972, the ACLU of Eastern Missouri’s new executive director, Joyce Armstrong, prioritized building relationships with local gay and lesbian groups. She spoke to the Mandrake Society, St. Louis’ first gay rights or “homophile” organization, and coordinated with leaders at the gay-...

Portrait of Dr. Venable. Caption: H.P. Venable, M.D. F.A.C.S. Asst. Instructor in Clinical Opthalmology Washington University School of Medicine; Head and Director, Department of Ophthalmology Homer G. Phillips Hospital

ACLU-MO History Spotlight: New Home for the Venable Family

By Miranda Rectenwald on June 5, 2020

Segregation in Missouri typically occurred (and occurs) by custom, rather than law. Proving that discrimination occurred, and then eliminating it, required diligent efforts by many activists. New Home for the Venable Family, 1956–1960 Dr. Howard Phillip Venable and his wife, Katie, purchased land...