A discussion of Walter Johnson's new book, The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States.
From Lewis and Clark’s 1804 expedition to the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, American history has been made in St. Louis. The city exemplifies how imperialism, racism, and capitalism have persistently entwined to corrupt the nation’s past. St. Louis was a staging post for Indian removal and imperial expansion, and its wealth grew on the backs of its poor black residents, from slavery through redlining and urban renewal. But it was once also America’s most radical city, home to anti-capitalist immigrants, the Civil War’s first general emancipation, and the nation’s first general strike — a legacy of resistance that endures.
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About the Speakers
Walter Johnson is Winthrop Professor of History and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard Divinity School and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Suzannah Clark is Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music at Harvard University and the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center.