© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

St. Louis American newspaper will help teach civil rights history in schools

Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Public Radio
Dr. Donald Suggs (left) and Gwen Moore (right) discuss the crucial role black newspaper outlets played during the civil rights movement.

The St. Louis American was founded in 1928 and played a critical role in publicizing civil rights struggles in St. Louis, among other black press outlets.

The mainstream press did not cover relations that mattered in African-American communities. Due to the lack of coverage, black newspapers filled the void missing in their communities.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the role of the black press in the past and present media landscape with Dr. Donald Suggs, executive editor of the St. Louis American newspaper and Gwen Moore, curator of Urban Landscape and Community at the Missouri History Museum and curator of the museum’s current exhibit #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis.” 

 “The crusading black press felt it was their obligation to fight racism and discrimination and were very much involved in that struggle,” Moore said.

She and Suggs will discuss the role that newspapers played in civil rights history at the Missouri History Museum on Nov. 8.

 “For a long time, the major white dailies would not cover the civil rights protests that were going on in the black community,” Moore said. She said other newspapers like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch purposely didn’t cover the protests because they thought it would enflame the situation — but it ignored the black community’s plight.

 “I do not agree with the Post-Dispatch that it would have enflamed the situation. I think it would have made it better,” Moore said.

Suggs said due to the concentration of African-Americans in certain areas and the existing black press, distribution of news made the community more cohesive.

“I think the exhibit at the history museum reflects that; that you see the caliber of people that were involved in the leadership because almost everyone was affected,” Suggs said.

The Nov. 8 program will also introduce a new online teacher resource that uses the American to teach students about the civil rights movement due to their coverage on the subject matter.

Listen below to hear what Moore and Suggs have to say on the role of media in the current political climate of St. Louis: 


Related Event:

What: Missouri History Museum Presents Newspapers in Action with Dr. Donald Suggs
When: Nov. 8, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO 63112

Do you have questions about the role of newspapers in civil rights history? Send us an email with your response at talk@stlpublicradio.org or send us a tweet at @STLonAir.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

Stay Connected
Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.