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Black Lives and Spatial MattersPolicing Blackness and Practicing Freedom in Suburban St. Louis$
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Jodi Rios

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501750465

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501750465.001.0001

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Politics and Policing in Pagedale

Politics and Policing in Pagedale

(p.135) 5 Politics and Policing in Pagedale
Black Lives and Spatial Matters

Jodi Rios

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the City of Pagedale, which represents an extreme example of how discourses of race and space are deployed in North St. Louis County. City officials in Pagedale pass and enforce ordinances that promote “suburban aesthetics” and white cultural norms, as well as targeting circumstances of poverty and Black culture. They do so using a consistent rhetoric of public safety and property rights, which began soon after the first developments began to appear in this area. Whereas traffic violations make up the vast majority of policing-for-revenue practices in North St. Louis County, Pagedale has historically policed space and property. Pagedale, which made history as the first municipality in the United States to elect an all-Black, all-woman leadership in 1982, troubles many of the popular explanations for the “Ferguson uprisings” and complicates the idea that predatory policing by Black leadership is simply a result of power, greed, or corruption. As the chapter details, the Black women leaders who came into power in the 1980s used visibility to push back against the limits placed on their bodies—as Black and female—yet worked within the terms that had been set by previous administrations and the historical structures of racism and sexism that construct blackness-as-risk.

Keywords:   Pagedale, North St. Louis County, Black culture, revenue, predatory policing, Black leadership, Black women leaders, racism, sexism, blackness-as-risk

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