03 June 2015

Kinloch & Ferguson

I'll be presenting the largely unknown story of the long segregated communities Kinloch and Ferguson this Friday in Grand Center. My piece is part of the Artists' Showcase being held at the Public Media Commons located between Channel Nine and St. Louis Public Radio. The program will feature a series of live and multimedia pieces created just for this event. Check out the Facebook Event page for more details.

Advertisement for new suburban development, 1895.

Many of the white families who built homes in the "beautiful highland suburb" of Kinloch Park in the late 19th Century brought their Black servants with them and set aside a portion of the community for them to live with their families. Separate schools were set up for white and black students. The first school for Black children was a one-room frame structure, the Vernon School, built in 1885 which suggests there must have been a critical mass of families living there at the time.

The Vernon School was the first school built for Black children in St. Louis County.

In the early decades of the 20th Century, realtors devised a way to create a suburb for Blacks. Land  just West of Ferguson was marketed to Black families by the Olive Street Terrace Realty Company.

Here's an excerpt from an advertisement they placed in the St. Louis Argus dating from 1917 which suggests the mechanism for financing the transactions with the blessing of a bank.

Excerpt from an advertisement in the St. Louis Argus newspaper.

This practice was apparently seen as a legitimate means for investing in land development and profiting from laws which prohibited Black from buying property or obtaining loans.

Headline of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about unique investment opportunity.

This practice was apparently common knowledge. It was known as the "Brooklyn Method" having been first developed as a means of selling land to Blacks across the river in Brooklyn, Illinois. A similar use of "straw buyers" was often used in St. Louis to circumvent restrictive covenants and similar limitations.

To find out more, please come to hear the rest of the remarkable story of this community.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thank you so much for your information, it is very useful.