The St. Joseph Museums, Inc. has opened a free temporary exhibit on Boom! The Rise and Fall of Missouri's Black Business Districts. The exhibit is located at the East Hills Mall, 3702 Frederick Avenue, in St. Joseph, where it will be open to the public until June.
BOOM!, a Missouri State Museum traveling exhibit, tells the story of five black business districts throughout the state. Due to segregation and racism, these business centers flourished, serving as the cornerstone of Black life, culture, and survival from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. However, integration, civil rights legislation & urban renewal caused them to crumble and disappear.
The five communities featured are:
- The Foot in Jefferson City
- Tile Wedge in Hannibal
- Sharp End in Columbia
- Vine Street in Kansas City
- The Ville in St. Louis
The St. Joseph Museum has expanded the exhibit to include a discussion of St. Joseph's early black community and the redlining, restrictive covenants, and other political and social divides that affected the town.
In addition, the exhibit discusses significant issues that laid the foundation for the disappearance of each of these communities:
- Gentrification - The process of renewal that accompanies the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.
- De jure segregation - Based on laws or actions of the state.
- De facto segregation - In reality or by common practice.
- Redlining - Real estate practice where lenders refuse to lend money or extend credit to borrowers of color or in certain areas of town.
- Racially restrictive covenants - Contracts that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group, usually Black or Jewish people.
For more information on St. Joseph Museum exhibits, events, programs, and rental facilities, visit stjosephmuseum.org or call 816-232-8471.
(Content for this post provided by St. Joseph Museum, Inc. and The Missouri State Museum, a Missouri State Park. Images: WindingRiver.com archive.)