Professor Walter Johnson
St. Louis was the epicenter of American empire in the nineteenth century: the point of embarkation for Lewis and Clark; the military headquarters for U.S. Indian wars. It was likewise central to the history of slavery: from the Missouri Compromise to Dred Scott. The city’s intertwining of the history of empire and race continued through the twentieth century in its prominent role in the defense industry as well as the history of segregation, urban “redevelopment,” and police violence. How does the global capitalist and imperialist history of St. Louis relate to its recalcitrant inequality, structural racism, and endemic violence?