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Teddy Bears and Racial Justice: How St. Louis Became a Laboratory for Social Work


The ability is predicted to deal with nearly 1,000 nonprofit staff, who can have access to executive training programs, meeting space and other resources. And a residential wing will house a whole lot of families of various races and income levels, some paying below-market rates.

Clark and Fox, an older white Jewish couple, were driven to pursue the project partially by the unrest in Ferguson, a town outside St. Louis, in 2014 and 2015. They became convinced that Black neighborhoods need money at a scale that more often goes to megaprojects like Ballpark Village, a $260 million real estate investment area around Busch Stadium.

But for Clark, Delmar Divine has also turn into a passion project.

“Sooner or later, I took a friend’s advice and decided to show right on my way home as an alternative of left” when commuting toward her home in Clayton, an upscale suburb, she said. “It modified my life.”

A mile west down the boulevard from Delmar Divine is an area called the Loop that, at first glance, looks very similar to other gentrifying neighborhoods across America: record shops, hip concert venues, fancy brunch joints.

The Loop’s revival owes its character to at least one man: Joe Edwards, an actual estate developer known for his collection of antique memorabilia and the hundreds of photographs he has taken with celebrities and plastered on the partitions of his jazz bar, Blueberry Hill.

His latest obsession is the Loop Trolley, a project that has turn into a running joke in St. Louis.

Like all of his enthusiasms, it’s powered by nostalgia for an era when downtown residents took streetcars to buy in what was a various, almost cosmopolitan neighborhood until roughly 1955, when the Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional — driving many white residents into the suburbs.

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