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North Webster: An African American community that thrived on its own

Families settled in North Webster after the civil war and created a community that they wouldn't have to leave

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — North Webster has a rich African American heritage.

Families settled in North Webster after the civil war and created a community that they wouldn't have to leave.

North Webster had everything it needed. It had its own churches, grocery stores, doctors and the only accredited high school for black students in the county during segregation. African American students commuted to Douglass High School from all over St. Louis for their education.

Natives of North Webster, Louis Davis Jr. and his wife Janet, remember what those days were like.

"We didn't realize how segregated we were until we would walk out of this neighborhood - for example, we'd go up on Lockwood to the Velvet Freeze to get ice cream. As a kid, we did not understand that the reason we got the ice cream and left was because we could not sit down there. So, it was perfectly acceptable because we were in a cocoon like we were insulated from the outside world," Janet explained. 

That cocoon that Janet speaks of is still vibrant today, but it’s much more integrated. In the summer of 2019, a statue was dedicated in Barbre Park to celebrate North Webster's African American history.

Credit: North Webster

TISL TOWN

The Today in St. Louis team will be at Maypop Coffee and Garden in Webster Groves on Feb. 21.

Credit: KSDK

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