Some visitors to my home

interviewIt’s always interesting what will come of my books. On Friday, a crew making a documentary about the area’s black-white divide and a North Side minister who’s taken a stand against the killing in his area visited me to get my thought about those topics.

The minister in question – the Rev. Kenneth McKoy – was one of 80 people I interviewed for my latest book, The Colorful Characters of St. Louis. He left a pastorate in a black church in Webster Groves and started a new church in a dangerous part of northwest St. Louis. He now leads a group of clergy and others who walk around North St. Louis at night as a way to fight that area’s violence.

The crew spent forever setting up cameras in our living room and positioning me on the right side of our love seat. They brought a table and potted plant in from other rooms and set them next to me to provide color. Seth Ferranti, who is making the documentary, spent much of his time in the interview asking about my own thoughts about what McKoy is doing. Frankly, his willingness to leave a safe area for the worst part of St. Louis impressed me enormously. I told him that the most dangerous place you can be  is where God doesn’t want you.

When the conversation turned to race, I said St. Louis is a great place to live, but that the divide between whites and blacks is doing horrible things to our area. Kenneth McKoy is one of those taking mighty steps to heal that divide.

The Rev. Kenneth McKoy

Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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