Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

History

Date of Defense

4-21-2014

Graduate Advisor

Priscilla Dowden-White, PhD.

Committee

Laura Westhoff

Deborah Cohen

Abstract

In this thesis I explore the community of North Webster; an African American suburban community that legally existed from 1865 to 1960 within St. Louis County, Missouri. I argue that North Webster’s legal existence was a constant struggle to achieve an ever fuller version of citizenship rights for its residents. A major turning point in this struggle occurred in 1925 when the Webster Groves School Board created a High School department at North Webster’s Frederick Douglass Elementary School. Prior to Douglass High School, North Webster was a relatively isolated community that provided education for all residents through eighth grade. After the creation of Douglass High School, North Webster delivered secondary education to all African American students in St. Louis County and became a leader in St. Louis’s congregated African American community. By 1949, thirty years of expanded educational opportunity allowed North Webster residents to extend their pursuit of equality into larger societal arenas.

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