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Reply #45: E. St. Louis Reputation [View All]

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helleborient Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-13-03 10:59 AM
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45. E. St. Louis Reputation
I grew up in Edwardsville, another part of the St. Louis metro area which has transformed from small town in the 70's when I was growing up to suburban bedroom community these days.

I was taught as a young child that E. St. Louis was unwelcome to white people - the population at that time was about 90% black. It was acknolwedged that a primary reason for this was incessant poverty and the crime that went along with it. Traveling to E. St. Louis for high school sports events wasn't consider a particularly safe activity. E. St. Louis had the most successful football and track programs in the state for many many years - Jackie Joyner and her family are products of E. St. Louis track and field - to her credit Jackie has built a large sports/community center in E. St. Louis. The constant fear in a number of towns (Alton as a good example) that had growing black populations was ending up as "another E. St. Louis."

To me, one of the most depressing components is the rife corruption in E. St. Louis government...at one period, lack of city government money for garbage collection led to literally huge piles of garbage all around the city.

I work in a public library in the state of Illinois and as in many other areas, E. St. Louis has received significant state money to improve libraries. A new central library was recently built, but questions about management linger.

It is a very depressing situation...from what I've heard through the years, E. St. Louis was once a beautiful city in the first part of the 20th century but it is now decades that there has been little hope...one of those corners of America that is far too easy for most to ignore.
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