Mar 24, 2023
In the fight for civil rights, many groups took part. One of those was group of St. Louisans who banded together and morphed into a local chapter of CORE. Just press play to hear the whole story.
Podcast Transcript: I’m Cicely Hunter, Public Historian from the Missouri Historical Society, and here’s history, on eighty-eight-one, KDHX. ———
Poised with the determination to change the racial dynamic in St. Louis, residents led the charge to mobilize their efforts. The Congress of Racial Equity also referred to as CORE was a national interracial organization designed to utilize nonviolent tactics to combat racial violence and segregation. The primary factor that guided their involvement derived from Mahatma Gandhi, whose practices helped them to expose the brutality and inhuman beliefs espoused by racists. The belief of active resistance, through nonviolent measures, became their primary tactic to address injustices. ———
A local chapter of CORE was born in St. Louis during 1947 after Bernice Fisher, a Chicago activist, inspired a small group to organize. Irv and Maggie Dagen were the primary leaders and organizers of the small group, Humanity, Inc., which morphed into the St. Louis chapter of CORE following their meeting with Fisher. ———
The next year, the St. Louis local chapter of CORE determined to galvanize their efforts by demonstrating at sit-ins at Stix, Baer & Fuller, a department store and other businesses like Famous-Barr, Woolworth, Walgreen, and more. The group contained students and faculty primarily from colleges and graduate schools, but also some high school students and faculty members from institutions like Washington University, Saint Louis University, Stowe Teachers College, and a couple of high schools in the area. ———
As CORE and other activist groups embarked to change the racial landscape in St. Louis towards an integrated society, there was a glimmer of hope in 1948 when the first bill was introduced to prevent racial discrimination with a public accommodations bill. Thirteen years later, on May 19, 1961, a bill passed to address the discriminatory practices and was enacted on June 1, 1961. ———
For more information about St. Louis Black history, please visit our website mohistory.org/aahi. Here’s history is a joint production of the Missouri Historical Society and KDHX. I’m Cicely Hunter and this is eighty-eight-one, KDHX, St. Louis. ———