City street lights mark the edges and corners of blocked off territory. Land labeled “ghetto” and “dangerous” translates to land that was ignored for the profit of the few. This land exists a short drive away from us, they are backyards to the neighborhoods we chose not to stray from. They are West Garfield Park, East St. Louis, Englewood, The Ville, and every impoverished community that suffered in isolation while those around watched. Our generation can be quick to judge the actions of oppressors or the lack of necessary change in our history, however a lot of these remarks can be made about today’s segregated neighborhoods. In cities such as St. Louis, where segregation is deep rooted and has allowed further issues to stem from such divisions, the voice of the community is often silenced by quick, misguided assumptions on such areas. These are not “bad neighborhoods” they are not populated by “bad people”, but are rather neglected portions of a city that has found it easier to accept these stereotypes than look beyond the superficial. We have the tools and knowledge to solidify that there is more to these neighborhoods than gangs or torn down houses, the question is now what do we do with them?
We can’t begin to tackle the problem of education and poverty in neighborhoods such as The Ville and East St. Louis, without first learning about their history and connecting the dots between these issues. To paint a better picture of what segregation looked like across the