House to House: Mergers, Annexations, & the Racial Implications of City-County Politics in St. Louis

19 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2015 Last revised: 21 Mar 2016

See all articles by Anders Walker

Anders Walker

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Date Written: October 9, 2014


According to most scholars, Jim Crow's death elevated African Americans even as white departures depressed them, condemning blacks to isolated neighborhoods, segregated schools, and crumbling urban cores. To counter such reversals, liberals endorsed the consolidation of urban and suburban zones, hoping that such moves might thwart flight, promote integration, and ameliorate the effects of what scholars began in the 1970s to term “institutional” or “structural” racism. Initially such efforts focused primarily on schools, but quickly expanded to include other types of consolidation as well, including the consolidation, or merger, of major metropolitan areas and surrounding counties. While the rubric of consolidation has tended to enjoy a progressive cast, certain aspects of metropolitan mergers bode ill for African Americans, particularly in the area of electoral influence. For example, St. Louis City boasts a comparative black majority of 47.9% (with whites totaling 46.4% and Asians 3.1%), while the adjoining county claims only 23.7% African American residents. As this essay shall demonstrate, full integration of the two entities would lead blacks to lose significant electoral clout, particularly over county positions like the prosecutor's office, leaving them politically weaker across the board.

Keywords: Ferguson, Race, St. Louis, Merger, Structural Racism, Voting

Suggested Citation

Walker, Anders, House to House: Mergers, Annexations, & the Racial Implications of City-County Politics in St. Louis (October 9, 2014). St. Louis University Public Law Review, Vol. XXXIV, No. 1, 2014, Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-21, Available at SSRN:

Anders Walker (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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