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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Forgotten County: St. Clair County, Illinois, in 1968
by Edison, Jeffrey, M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2018, 127; 10793882
Abstract (Summary)

1968 was a tumultuous year where Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago had protests, and the election of Richard Nixon shaped the next four years. The mainstream media overshadowed the local interpretation of these events. Mid-sized cities like St. Louis have largely been ignored by the mainstream media and modern scholarship. St. Louis is a complex case because it includes the city, the county, and the greater Metro East region which lies in the neighboring state of Illinois. Unlike other major cities and their suburbs, cities in the St. Louis region consider themselves separate from the city even though there is a clear influence from the city. An examination of St. Clair County, Illinois in the Metro East will show how the complexity goes even deeper. Three cities in St. Clair County, Illinois shared their opinions about the major events in 1968, and their different interpretations of these events leads to a unique window into social and racial sentiments within the county. Each city represents one aspect of St. Clair County life. East St. Louis represents a largely African American industrial suburb of St. Louis, O’Fallon was the predominant white rural farm and mining area of the county, and Belleville represents the blend of a city suburb and the rural country life.

The few previous historians who have done research on this region focused mainly on one city in the Metro East to exemplify the whole, and East St. Louis is used as the focal point of St. Clair County. I will not solely rely on one city to give an overarching concept, but three distinct cities with different economic and population makeups. Through my research on newspaper editorials on a micro level, I demonstrate the larger trend of these sentiments in the Midwest that go largely unnoticed by the larger media in 1968.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Manuel, Jeffrey T.
Commitee: Harris, Jessica, Jack, Bryan, Stacy, Jason
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: Historical Studies
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, History
Keywords: History, Illinois, Local history, Metro East, St. Clair County, St. Louis
Publication Number: 10793882
ISBN: 978-0-438-00940-0
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