In histories of colonial St. Louis, people of African descent appear most often as enslaved men and women forced into doing the hard labor of settlement. Traces of their existence are visible in records relating to slave auctions and census documents enumerating their presence in households, but the fabric of their daily lives can be difficult to recover. Patricia Cleary, author of The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: A History of Colonial St. Louis, will illuminate the vital roles African Americans played in the early village on the Mississippi, exploring how they experienced violence and expressed themselves in a community frequently torn by discord and unrest.
Patricia Cleary is the author of The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: A History of Colonial St. Louis. Cleary, a historian at CSU–Long Beach, also received a fellowship through the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Center for Missouri Studies in 2017 in support of her research.