‘Stop This Flame’

‘Simply a business proposition’

Roy Simpson RauschkolbWhen Presbyterians decided to sell their church at 910 N. Newstead to Lane Tabernacle, Roy S. Rauschkolb, a 34-year-old Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. salesman, organized a “protective association” to block the sale and keep African Americans from moving into the neighborhood. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jan. 25, 1920)

Rauschkolb said: “This is not a race question, and there is no prejudice in it. It is simply a business proposition. Most of us have worked hard to build or buy our homes, and we don’t propose to see their value depreciated.”

Rauschkolb didn’t “build” or “buy” his home, though: Census records show he was renting an apartment on Enright when he organized the “Delmar-Enright Protective and Improvement Association.”

Later that same year, Rauschkolb was “loaned” by Firestone to the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce to help promote a $60 million bond issue. He became a Chamber official in the 1920s, represented laundry owners during a bitter strike in the ‘30s and ran the Granite City-based Tri-State Chamber and served on the Bi-State Development board in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

A footnote: Rauschkolb, who moved frequently, was politically active as a young man, briefly serving on the Webster Groves board of aldermen, helping organize Republicans in that conservative south St. Louis County community. His father, Louis Rauschkolb, was an inspector for the St. Louis sewer department, but killed himself in 1914, after he was demoted to cleaner.

Roy S. Rauschkolb’s obituary in 1963 made no mention of his activities in 1920; his death certificate said he worked as a “Public Relation Man.”

Remember me



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(Top, left to right) Willie Kane, Concordance in Cairo, detail of a Memphis tombstone, unknown First Nations warrior. (Bottom, left to right) from the collections of the Saint Louis Art Museum, Joseph Pulitzer, National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

Händel Festspiele 2019 Vivica Genaux und Lawrence Zazzo

‘No feeling of jubilation manifested’

the lynching of c.j. millerA black man was arrested in Sikeston, Missouri, taken across the Mississippi River to Bardwell, Kentucky, and lynched, burned and mutilated by a mob looking to avenge the murder of two white girls.

C.J. Millers story, retold by journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, was published on July 29, 1894 — 125 years ago — by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

From her account: “They told him they would not burn him if he would confess. His reply was that to kill him he would burn on earth only an hour, but if he told a lie he would burn forever.”

The lynching, which took place on July 7, 1893, was covered when it happened, including by the St. Louis papers. The Globe-Democrat’s account on July 8, for example, included graphic details and noted that the father of the murdered girls believed Miller was probably innocent.   Read more of this post

‘Going against escapism’

“It may sound cheesy, like new wave shit, but it’s not escapism. It’s going against escapism. We should dream together to make war against the evil, the fascists, the crazy guys around the world who are spreading like cancer.” — Gaye Su Akyol

Uncle Sam: How to spot a U.S. fascist


clipping_33985435On March 24, 1945, the U.S. War Department released Program 64, which was designed to explain to soldiers why they were fighting.

Here’s an excerpt from its publication titled “Three Ways to Spot U.S. Fascists.”

“Fascists in America may differ slightly from fascists in other countries, but there are a number of attitudes and practices that they have in common. Following are three. Every person who has one of them is not necessarily a fascist. But he is in a mental state that lends itself to the acceptance of fascist aims.

“1. Pitting religion, racial, and economic groups against one another in order to break down the national unity is a device of the divide and conquer technique used by Hitler to gain power in Germany and in other countries.

“With slight variations, to suit local conditions, Read more of this post

‘Extract the eternal from the ephemeral!’

Charles Baudelaire (April 9, 1821 – August 31, 1867) 


st rose cropped

“There are no difficulties, except for those who worry too much about tomorrow.” — Rose Philippine Duchesne.

“Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Matthew 6:34


‘There is no business in America that is more precarious now than publishing a newspaper.’

01-02-1906 St. Louis Republic A1When it looked like the St. Louis Globe-Democrat was going to be shuttered, back in 1983, I did a quick study of other St. Louis newspapers that beat the Globe to the cemetery. (I was working for a journalism review; it was my job to know the history.) There’d been many, including the St. Louis Chronicle († 1905), the Times († 1932) and the Star-Times († 1951).

The heyday of newspapering in St. Louis  — when there were the most competitors — probably occurred in the early 1900s, when there were at least five robust English-language dailies. The oldest of the bunch, by far, was the St. Louis Republic, a morning daily controlled by David R. Francis, a Democratic politician who led the World’s Fair of 1904 Read more of this post

Λιβισιανή μου πέρδικα

Another moving day

post-dispatch building 1950sThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as of 2019, has had eight locations*  since the paper was founded by Joseph Pulitzer in 1878. But the only office built by the newspaper’s owners was at the northeast corner of 12th and Olive, now 300 North Tucker Boulevard. The newspaper was based there from 1917 until 1959.

star-times building 1940sIn 1951, Pulitzer bought and closed its afternoon rival, the money-losing St. Louis Star-Times. The Star-Times was located at 12th and Delmar (now 800 North Tucker). The building is now the home of St. Patrick Center.

In 1959, after negotiating a joint operating agreement with S.I. Newhouse, the new owner of the morning St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the Post-Dispatch acquired the Globe’s 28-year-old building at 12th and Franklin, now 900 North Tucker. globe-democrat building 1930sThe Globe then moved to leased space in what’s now 710 North Tucker, just south of the old Star-Times building. The Globe died a slow, painful death in the ’80s.

The announcement on Jan. 7, 2019 that the Post-Dispatch is moving to leased space on 10th Street, near America’s Center, means there won’t be a daily newspaper based on Tucker (the old 12th Street) for the first time in more than a century.

* The Post-Dispatch started at 321 Pine, then moved to 111 N. Broadway, 513-515 Market, 513 Olive, 210-212 N. Broadway, 1139 Olive (now 300 N. Tucker), 900 N. Tucker and now 901 N. 10th.

Why charity can’t be the answer

“Do people have a right to social services that will solve their difficulties? Since it is our argument that charities and philanthropies are out of place in a mature society, social services should not be a matter of privilege but should be guaranteed by law.

charity“In a developed society, responses to human needs are channeled through organizational forms. Such services should be met by public agencies financed primarily by tax funds, and not by voluntary, private agencies financed primarily by non-tax funds.

“The ‘right’ to welfare services should be integrated into our legal system because, pragmatically, it offers the only workable alternative to the continuing and intensifying deterioration of social conditions; and philosophically, human needs precede in fact and in importance the service rendered. . . .

“Because men and women are entitled to life, they are entitled to an adequate diet, decent housing, sufficient clothes, total medical care, adequate treatment for mental health problems, and the freedom and opportunity to search for values.

Read more of this post

Punks, grafters, self-seekers, puny Hitlers and papsuckers

John S. Knight“When a certain unscrupulous type of politician finds that he is unable to get an editorial endorsement either for himself or his candidate on merit, he then turns to throwing garbage and dead cats at the press in an effort to convince unthinking voters that he is the righteous defender of the people’s rights. … It’s a trick that is practiced by countless petty office holders and self-seekers throughout the country. It is a device that is familiarly known to those in the newspaper business as ‘running for editor.’ … 

“The chief threat to good journalism these days comes from the so-called ‘pressure groups’ who sometimes feel that, if they can muster an imposing delegation to call upon the editor, he may ‘see the light.’ However, in this country, a newspaper’s exercise of its sacred privilege, freedom of the press, is limited only by the degree of the editor’s courage. So long as we have men presiding over the editorial destinies of our newspapers who possess courage, intelligence, tolerance and a devotion to the public interest, it will take more than a few self-anointed ‘puny Hitlers’ and political papsuckers to sway them from upholding the right as they see it.” – John S. Knight, Oct. 20, 1940

Read more of this post

Valsa de Silêncios (Alexia Evellyn)


StAll vying for attention, ticking off entries on a résumé, of places visited, of objects and living things consumed and possessed, of citations and honors collected; cataloging ancestors who lived unremarkable lives during remarkable times, and through repetition and embellishment become pieces of other biographies Read more of this post

A ‘network of surveillance’

G Herbert Walker smallThe goal was to counter German spies and saboteurs during the Great War, but the American Protective League appeared to be more successful at helping criminalize speech and neutralize dissidents, including leftists and labor activists.

The league functioned as a “voluntary auxiliary” under the U.S. Department of Justice, a network of amateur secret agents of 200,000 or more “loyal” Americans. Its work in St. Louis was highlighted in a lengthy feature, “Fighting German Spies in St. Louis,” published in the Post-Dispatch on Aug. 18, 1918.

Among the revelations in the report: the chief of the St. Louis division, which was said to number some 3,000 agents, was none other than George Herbert Walker, described as “a wealthy broker.”

Walker was a power in the local Democratic Party who became an influential investment banker with W. Averill Harriman’s New York firm after the war. Today, he’s best known as the maternal grandfather and great-grandfather of former presidents Read more of this post

Goober, 2000-2018

He was born in St. Louis, rescued by former Riverfront Times writer Melinda Roth, and ended up with my family. Like us, he lived in several places, but he managed to spend most of his time on a sofa. In 2013, he returned to St. Louis, where he spent his final years. He was my favorite cat and, in retrospect, deserved a more dignified name.




From review of Carey Gillam’s “The Monsanto Papers: Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man’s Search for Justice” (2021): “Despite the subject matter — complicated science and legal proceedings — “The Monsanto Papers” is a gripping read that provides an easy-to-follow explanation of how this litigation unfolded, how the jurors reached their verdict and why Bayer appears to be, in effect, throwing up a white flag now.”

From review of Ben Montgomery’s “A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South” (2021): “Montgomery does more than resurrect this old story; he digs deep into trial testimony, newspaper records and archives and weaves a richly textured and dramatic story that underscores a truth of the Jim Crow era — that Black people faced oppression with great courage and resilience, and that their fearlessness and moral rectitude made even unreconstructed apologists for an unjust system bend.”

From review of Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s ‘Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism’ (2020): “Couple the staggering cost of health care in the U.S. with the erosion of other key pillars of the traditional safety net — traditional old-age pensions and meager unemployment insurance — and you may despair, as well.  ‘Deaths of Despair’ was released last month as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Its analysis seems both timely and dated, as millions of people suddenly find themselves out of work, facing a dread disease and struggling to navigate a broken health care system.”


From review of Carl Boggs’ ‘Fascism Old and New: American Politics at the  Crossroads’(2018): “[Carl] Boggs credits Trump with unleashing a multitude of dark social forces in American society, tapping a certain ethno-nationalism that encourages stereotyping, hate speech and targeting. But Trump — despite the strong passions he arouses — may not really matter all that much. Certain tendencies are now so institutionalized, so thoroughly entrenched in American public life, that the leadership factor as such is bound to be less decisive than generally believed, Boggs writes.”


From review of Henry W. Berger’s ‘St. Louis & Empire: 250 Years of Imperial Quest & Urban Crisis’ (2015): Past attempts to address poverty, racial segregation and inequality, and troubled public education have had, at best, limited success and, in many cases, made things worse. Far more extensive attention and far greater corrective action is required, he writes. The focus should … be on people, not real estate. High-ticket enterprises such as stadiums, convention centers, and condo buildings do not a city make.’”

‘There was great rejoicing in hell this morning’

prisonRemembering George Dinning, a black Southerner who in 1897 defended his family from a white mob, then courageously brought suit against his tormentors — and won. 

FRANKLIN, Ky.  •  Late on the night of Jan. 21, 1897, a group of 25 armed white men showed up at the home of George and Mary Dinning and told the family they had 10 days to leave.* They accused George Dinning, a former slave, of stealing chickens and hogs.

Dinning insisted he was no thief, but these Night Riders weren’t listening. They shot into the house — most of the couple’s 12 terrified children were there — and hit Dinning in the arm and grazed his forehead.

Despite his wounds, Dinning returned fire, killing a 32-year-old man named Jodie Conn. After the whites fled, Dinning made his way to nearby Franklin — the county seat of Simpson County, Ky. — where he turned himself in to the sheriff.

The vigilantes, as Dinning had feared, returned to his home and on a bitterly cold night forced his wife and children to leave. They then plundered the Read more of this post

Journalism! (Artifacts)

Neile AdamsNeile Adams in “This Could Be the Night” (1957)  https://bit.ly/30NJtmB

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Metrics, analytics, ephemera

FullSizeRender (2)“If the advertising is not worth anything to the advertiser unless it be disguised as reading matter it must be poor advertising and we should not sell it. In any event, we should not deceive and mislead the reader.” — Joseph Pulitzer II (quoted in Daniel W. Pfaff, “Joseph Pulitzer II and the Post-Dispatch, 1991, p 331)

“The move toward subscriptions will require measuring audiences differently, with analytics that measure deep engagement and not just page views. … Cutting back on newsrooms now … imperils any long-term subscription strategy. Publishers may have to accept a smaller, or in some cases no, margin of profit now to invest in the content quality that potential subscribers demand.”  http://bit.ly/2FznCpF

“Metrics alone don’t create a newsroom culture. (Caitlin Petre, a doctoral student in sociology at New York University), for her part, recommends newsrooms take time “for reflective, deliberate thinking removed from daily production pressures about how best to use analytics.” http://bit.ly/2oxMO8z

“The digital public sphere, says Schiller, ‘is bolted to the material world through spatially organized infrastructures.’ And like the newspapers of old, the work of producing and disseminating news and information in the digital age involves a sociologically complex labor process, involving ‘creative’ as well as various kinds of technical, mechanical and service work. … Read more of this post

Reassert & resist

information libre“At a pivotal juncture for journalism, it is important to reassert the value of community and resist the commercial imperative. … The goal of journalism, ultimately, is to ‘promote a well-functioning democratic process.’ If journalism simply views itself as the conduit through which transient audience preferences are satisfied, then it is no journalism worth bearing the name.” — Edson C. Tandoc Jr. & Ryan J. Thomas (2015) The Ethics of Web Analytics, Digital Journalism, 3:2, 243-258, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2014.909122

Too much for too little

imageFound two old clips while going through some personal papers, both on subjects that are front and center in current St. Louis public policy debates. Both stories address urban redevelopment strategies that involve the transfer of public money to private interests. It was a strategy very much in tune with the times — the notion that the private sector, if offered incentives, could accomplish what the public sector couldn’t or wouldn’t.

The net result of this strategy:
Read more of this post


Alice Martin for blogSt. Louis names -> Archer AlexanderAnonda Allen, James J. Allman, Roger Nash Baldwin, The Rev. William C. Barlow, Gordon Lee Baum, Charles W. Beehler, Napoleon Bland (Napoleon A. Rahim), Oliver K. Bovard, Helen Britton, Harry J. Cantwell, Charles Chapin, Winston Churchill, Jack Clark, Charles W. Conrad, Col. John T. Crisp, Thomas Anthony Dooley, Elmer Sylvester “Dutch” Dowling, Cyrile Echele, Rev. Grant Edwards Sr., Lovett Fort-Whiteman, Flint Garrison, Emme and Mayme Gerhard, Jeff Gluck, Benani Guiseppe, Edward Michael Harrington Jr., A. Lincoln Hartley, Louis Hempelmann, Jeptha D. Howe, John Eads Howe, John L. French, John W. Jacks, Jerry the orangutan, Col. Charles Henry Jones, Joe Jones, Thomas ‘Red’ Kane, Madge Keith, Claire Kenamore, Raymond KloseJean Knott, Felix P. Lawrence, Ivy Lee, Robert Lemen, Julius Lester, Robertus Love, Herman C. G. Luyties, Amadeo S. Marrazzi, Alice Martin, Francis L. McIntosh, William ‘Red’ McKenzie, Marguerite Martyn, Hyman Minsky, Bryan Mullanphy, Reinhold Niebuhr, Barbara Ann O’Merry, Nicholas A. Mortell, Nelson O. Nelson, Rick NewburgerKate Richards O’Hare, Chris Pepus, Paul Piccone, John Henry Pippin, Benjamin Pitezel, Chief Pontiac, Cyrus Rastegar, Roy S. Rauschkolb, Dr. Amand Ravold, Ripley Saunders, Eleanor Schlafly, Fannie Sellins, William and Toni Sentner, Menlo Smith, Marvin “Gene” Starr, Dr. Henry A. Stimson, Julia C. Stimson, Ignatius Strecker, Tony Tabacchi, Curtis Thomas, John S. Thurman, Henry M. Tichenorthe Rev. Irwin St. John Tucker, Harry S. Turner, Harry J. Tuthill, Rev. Frank G. TyrellGeorge P. Vierheller, Dora Wagner, Minnie Walden, George Herbert WalkerJoseph Weydemeyer, John W. Wheeler, Lee and Lyn Wilde, Mary Young

Requiescat in Pace -> Andy Alissandratos, Becky Austwick, Art Baldwin, Henry Berger, Ed Bishop, George Duncan Bauman, Ray Blanton, Joe Bonwich, Tommy Burks, Harry Cargas, Maurice Chambers, John Chamis, Wayne Chastain, Chris Conley, Sam Cooper, Cornelia Crenshaw, Read more of this post

The next stage of history


“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. … We cannot tell yet how much of the winnings of catastrophe remain to be gathered in. New falsities may arise and hold men in some unrighteous and fated scheme of order for a time, before they collapse amidst the misery and slaughter of generations.

“Yet, clumsily or smoothly, the world, it seems, progresses and will progress.”  —  H.G. Wells, “The Outline of History” (1920)

‘Inner St. Louis’

09-27-1917 inner 3 smallA century ago, the Commission on Comity of the St. Louis Church Federation surveyed “Inner St. Louis,” the area east of Grand.

This portion of the city, the Protestant ministerial group found, accounted for “half the population, three-fifths of the saloons and four-fifths of the crime.”

The “East End” held the city’s “foreign colonies” and “most of the factories and factory workers.”

The survey, the Post-Dispatch reported on Sept. 25, 1917, found conditions that tend to “weaken the family relationship: Bad housing, many divorces, common-law marriages and other marital irregularities, desertion, nonsupport. Of 15,000 births in the district within a year, 750 were out of wedlock.”  Read more of this post

The influence of big business

hb portrait“The influence of big business has always been present in our federal government. But there have been some checks on its control. The mere presence of a Supreme Court, a House of Representatives, a Senate and a President would not be sufficient protection against the utter centralization of power in the hands of a few men who might hold no office at all. Even in the case of Hitler, many shrewd observers feel that he is no more than a front man and that his power is derived from the large munitions and steel barons of Germany. …

“Now one of the first steps which Fascism must take in any land in order to capture power is to disrupt and destroy the labor movement. … I think it is not unfair to say that any business man in America, or public leader, who goes out to break unions, is laying foundations for Fascism.” — Heywood Broun, journalist and founder of the American Newspaper Guild, quoted in 1936 (from George Seldes’ “Facts and Fascism.”)