From the Great Depression to the 1960s, the city of St. Louis experienced significant decline as its population and industrial base stagnated while its suburbs expanded. To combat ingrained racism, crippling levels of poverty, and substandard living conditions, black women workers in St. Louis formed a community-based culture of resistance, fighting for fair and full employment, a living wage, affordable housing, political leadership, and personal dignity. Keona K. Ervin, author of the award-winning Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis, discusses how black women effectively grounded working-class struggle in movements for racial justice and set the stage for the defining campaigns of the explosive 1960s.
Keona K. Ervin
Keona K. Ervin is an associate professor of African-American History at the University of Missouri–Columbia and fellow at the Center for Missouri Studies. Her first book, Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis, won the State Historical Society of Missouri's Missouri Book Award in 2018.