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Visiting East St. Louis on the 100th Anniversary of the Riots

10th and Bond Street is where it all began, 100 years and two weeks ago. I went back and snapped these photos on the exact anniversary of some of the worse racial violence in US history. The oldest areas of East St. Louis are still mostly abandoned, with wide swaths of vacant lots. I am suspicious still of the “spontaneity” of the rioters who swept into the African-American neighborhood, killing and burning in large groups; they seem like they were way too well-organized in such a short period of time…

I found this abandoned factory further south, which is, like many abandoned factories, now used mainly for open space to store junk.

It’s small detail, but something I’ve never seen before: a smokestack that is slowly collapsing. Usually they are demolished for safety reasons.

But then I came across this beautiful old Catholic school building, perfectly preserved and occupied.

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