Since the murder of Michael Brown in suburban St. Louis in 2014 and the acquittal of the police officer who shot him, the economic, racial, spatial, and political dynamics of this southern/northern city have highlighted for many the deep and complex roots of American urban and suburban inequalities. Robert Bussel’s dual biography of St. Louis labor and civil rights leaders Harold Gibbons and Ernest Calloway furthers understanding of the class and race landscape of metro St. Louis. It is a welcome contribution to historical conversations about mid-twentieth-century mid-sized American cities’ deindustrialization and suburbanization. It explores the nexus between the labor movement and the civil rights movement as well as the Teamsters union.

The seed for Bussel’s project was planted three decades ago with the chance gift of Steven Brill’s famous tome on the Teamsters (The Teamsters [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978]). Intrigued by Brill’s portrayal of Gibbons—Teamsters Local...

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