April 7, 2014
I thought I'd pass along a quick bit of news while I had the chance. As most of you know, I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and that city has always been my "spiritual home." This is a very special year in St. Louis -- the 250th anniversary of its founding! Celebrations are taking place all over the city this year to commemorate this special time. One such celebration is taking place at the Missouri History Museum (known as the old "Jefferson Memorial" to those who grew up in St. L.) in Forest Park, right next to the St. Louis Zoo and the Jewel Box. The Missouri History Museum has a special exhibit called "250 in 250." The curators have put together an absolutely magnificent "walk-through" exhibit, which is free and open to the public, that shows the city's history in pictures, artifacts, and visuals and sound. In short, walking through the exhibit is like strolling through the city's storied history, from its beginnings to the present.
One part of the exhibit is devoted to the 50 most notable people/events in St. Louis history. One part of this special exhibit describes the sacrifices made by J. D. Shelley and his family as they fought to help end racially restrictive real estate covenants, covenants which said where people could live -- and not live -- based upon their race, religion, or in some cases national origin. I was very pleased to see this section describing the Shelley family and their fight to end this type of discrimination. I also had a pretty broad smile on my face as I looked at this exhibit because I chronicled their battle in my book Olivia's Story: The Conspiracy of Heroes Behind 'Shelley v. Kraemer. After viewing the rest of the exhibit, I asked for the name and contact information for the main curator of the exhibit. I contacted the curator the next day and told him how wonderful I thought it was that the museum chose to spotlight this dramatic part of not just St. Louis history, but *American* history as well. Basically, the "Shelley v. Kraemer" decision, eventually taken to the U.S. Supreme Court level, ended these horrible restrictions. I was also delighted when I was then asked if I'd do a presentation about Olivia's Story and its description of St. Louis history -- and have this as a part of the special exhibit at the Missouri History Museum! I said I'd be happy to do this, and it is now being scheduled for one of the weekends in October (please check back here for an update when the date is chosen). I can't wait to do this presentation at the museum. At the same time, I'd like to invite all of you in the area to stop in to see my presentation when it takes place. I'll be sharing how "Shelley v. Kraemer" literally changed the face and color of America.
I'm also attaching to this message a picture of the Museum Shop at the Missouri History Museum. I'm also so proud they carry Olivia's Story there for those interested in St. Louis history (the book is at the center of the top shelf in the photo).
Also, for those who'd like a little more information now about Olivia's Story and how it fits into the exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, here is the link to a short discussion I have about the subject on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krQt22qMCxg