Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Header Logo Center

Menu Search & Directory

John Francis Bannon, S.J., 2019 Lecture - Dr. Keona K. Ervin

Thursday, 02 May, 2019

John Francis Bannon, S.J., 2019 Lecture

Dr. Keona K. Ervin, University of Missouri

“Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis”

At 5 p.m. May 2, in the Saint Louis University Busch Student Center (room 251), prizewinning historian Keona K. Ervin will speak about her transformational new book, Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis (Kentucky, 2018). Dr. Ervin is associate professor of history at the University of Missouri.

Gateway to Equality explores the lives of black women in St. Louis, Missouri, between the 1930s and the 1960s, as they worked together to form a community-based culture of resistance, fighting for employment, a living wage, dignity, a better welfare system, and quality public housing. Dr. Ervin presents a stunning account of the ways in which black working-class women creatively fused racial and economic justice. Her work illuminates unexplored aspects of community activism to reimagine twentieth-century social justice movements and the history of St. Louis.

Reviewers praise the book for being of signal importance, deeply researched, and eloquent. In one reviewer’s words: “Ervin brilliantly illuminates working-class black women’s economic and political experiences.” Another hails the book as a “masterful work” that “pushes to the next level the study of black working-class community and struggle in St. Louis, Missouri and beyond.”

For more about Professor Ervin, visit

About the Lecture Series:

The Bannon Lecture honors the life and legacy of Father John Francis Bannon, S.J.  For 34 years (1939-1973), Father Bannon served Saint Louis University as a devoted professor and prolific writer. He was also a public intellectual with an abiding commitment to education in its broadest sense. Honoring the example he set, the Bannon Lecture brings to SLU scholars whose work reaches beyond the academy and engages issues in American history of broad public interest.

The lecture is always free and open to the public.

Signed copies of Dr. Ervin’s book will be available for sale at a reception following her talk.

Parking is available in the SLU Laclede Garage, 3642 Laclede Avenue, across Grand Boulevard from the Busch Student Center.