We are in the fifty years after time period of the Arch construction, leading up to the 50th anniversary of completion in October of next year.
Fifty years ago today, Percy Green climbed up the under construction north leg to protest the lack of black workers on the project.
An event which he has lived off of ever since then.
It says that he was the only black of 600 technicians that Mac hired for the Gemini capsule. It also says later that he timed his ascent, time at the top and descent in order to have enough time to get arrested, processed and bond out so that he could return home to get ready for his shift at Mac which started at midnight. If his job was such that he could start at midnight and work overnight, I highly doubt that he was in engineering or design. The real brainiacs probably had 9-to-5 hours.
You’ll also read of the famous I-70 “shutdown” that happened 15 years ago this past Saturday. Now that wasn’t so long ago, and I happen to remember quite a bit about which the P-D conveniently leaves out, such as the fact that the St. Louis City Police Chief at the time, a black named Ron Henderson, closed I-70 in both directions, forcing all traffic off the highway, eastbound traffic had to get off at Goodfellow, westbound traffic had to get off at Kingshighway, to make sure the protesters, who planned to “shut down” the highway between Union and Riverview, would have no problems. Henderson also shut down traffic before the time the protesters said they would “shut down” the highway. Which means that Henderson was in on the protest, because he agreed with it. Why wouldn’t an affirmative action police chief agree with blacks protesting for affirmative action in public construction contracts and hiring?
Henderson was interfering with state right of way for no good law enforcement or public safety issue, (even though they are interstate highways, the states’ departments of transportation purchase and own the right-of-way), and he could have been bought up on state charges for his little stunt. Except at the time, the “state” meant Governor Mel Carnahan and Attorney General (now Governor) Jay Nixon, both Democrats, Carnahan has always been a black bootlicker, and Nixon was at the time trying to live down his anti-deseg legal action from his first term as AG. Neither one would have dared laid a finger on Henderson. A few years later, when MoDOT was gearing up for the Highway 40 reconstruction, the same gang wanted to “shut down” the highway in Richmond Heights, but the white chief of the police department in Richmond Heights was having none of that.
One more thing: Eric Vickers lauds the high minority participation rate on the Stan Span. I also know from first hand experience that the pavement on the bridge was pretty rough when it first opened; MoDOT and IDOT just did “emergency repairs” on it a few weeks ago. Yeah, it is a bit curious that you have to do “emergency repairs” on brand new concrete pavement. I’m putting two and two together here, in case you didn’t notice.
As far as the lack of black workers on the Arch construction: Good thing. It is said that Eero Saarinen, who designed the Arch, had to be so careful in his calculations and check them over and over again, knew that an error of 1/64th of an inch in a crucial part would have the two upward-rising legs totally missing each other once all the pieces were in place. One who was so careful in his minute fractions probably would not have wanted the left tail of the bell curve actually building the thing.