Scholars have long claimed that St. Louis carries outsized, if overlooked, historical weight. That historical weight has largely been defined as anticipatory, meaning that what occurred in St. Louis foretold racial and economic formations and the debate over their terms on a national scale. Landmark twentieth-century Supreme Court cases including Gaines v. Canada, Shelley v. Kraemer, and McDonnell-Douglas Corp v. Green, all originating in St. Louis, provide strong evidence for this idea. Relatedly, others have emphasized that the structural racism of the Gateway City was fundamentally representative of national trends. Walter Johnson, an esteemed scholar of slavery and empire, forwards a bolder argument: It was not simply that what happened in St. Louis predicted what would develop on a broader scale or that racism in St. Louis was paradigmatic. It is not even enough to say that racism was particularly bad or worse in St. Louis than...

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