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Abandoned in the HeartlandWork, Family, and Living in East St. Louis$
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Jennifer Hamer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520269316

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520269316.001.0001

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(p.1) Prologue
Abandoned in the Heartland

Jennifer F. Hamer

University of California Press

This book aims to capture the complexities in the glorious resilience of East St. Louisans, as well as in the more commonly observed desperation and helplessness of the city itself. Race and place mattered throughout the twentieth century. The status of East St. Louis as a transportation hub defined the city's prominence in the early half of the twentieth century, but its marked decline distinguished it thereafter. Place matters, but no space—rural, urban, or suburban—is an escape from the negative effects of race for African Americans; a truth that the circumstances of East St. Louis unfortunately demonstrate. The book uses a case-study framework and qualitative research methods to undertake a holistic investigation of the cultural aspects of family and work life, while also examining the role of larger processes in shaping these circumstances.

Keywords:   East St. Louis, race, place, African Americans, transportation hub

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