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Catholic capitalism : charles Vatterott, civil rights, and suburbanization in St. Louis and the nation, 1919--1971 (Missouri)

Click to access the dissertation via ProQuest dissertations and theses
Author Sexauer, Cornelia Frances.
ISBN/ISSN 0496398105
Broad Subject Economics & finance
Summary This social and cultural history explores community development and residential racial and religious segregation in mid-twentieth century America with special reference to the city of St. Louis. It focuses on class, race, ethnicity, and religion. It examines the career of one of the nation's leading real estate developers, Charles F. Vatterott, Jr.The work analyzes the connections between Vatterott's practice in business and his commitment to justice and equality for all.

Vatterott, a devout Catholic, practiced his faith throughout his life. He participated in religious discussion groups, and recruited others to accompany him on his annual religious retreat with the Jesuits. In 1944 he helped to establish the St. Louis Catholic Interracial Justice Council that searched for ways to bring justice and equality to African-Americans and the less fortunate. In the mid-forties he built the planned white community of St. Ann, MO, a suburb of St. Louis. While other such planned developments were being built throughout the United States, some as government housing units and others as private projects, Vatterott's subdivision was distinctive as it specifically targeted Catholic home buyers with large families. In the early 1950s,at a time when the government saw segregated high rise public housing as the best way to accommodate poor and low-income African-Americans, Vatterott sought other solutions. He built a subdivision specifically for blacks, De Porres. These new homes were single family units that offered suburban living away from the high density city environment.

Vatterott moved beyond the St. Louis area in the mid-1960s when he took an active part in the civil rights demonstrations in Selma, Alabama. As a capitalist leader he used his resources to help fund a contingent group of black supporters. He also became an active part of the national civic rights movement. This courageous action demonstrates Vatterott's concern for others and his commitment to work for change.

Language English
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