THIS COLUMN BROUGHT to mind Robert Louis Stevenson's "world so
full of a number of things" . . . enough to make us all "as happy
People usually don't agree on what makes them happy or unhappy.
The woman caller who chided me is typical: "You are a readers
advocate only for African-Americans. You were hired by an
African-American (et tu, Cole Campbell?)
"You must have swallowed Bartlett's Quotations."
No ma'am, I swallowed a great education. Try digesting one.
Anyway, the "number of things" in this column includes the Rev.
Jesse Jackson, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, St. Louis
Science Center, Sylvester Brown Jr., Carolyn Tuft, the Belleville
police, the Post-Dispatch copy desk and critics.
Jackson accused a contractor of a construction site at the
Chicago Museum of Science and Industry of unfairly firing a black
subcontractor. So he blocked workers from entering the site.
The "country preacher" was arrested, refused to post a personal
bond and, like his spiritual mentor, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., chose to spend a night in jail.
And I chose to segue from the Chicago Museum to the St. Louis
A week ago Saturday, the Science Center opened in its new
inflated Exploradome a national exhibit, "Africa, One Continent,
St. Louis is one of only 15 cities where this major exhibit on
Africa is going to tour. Now that's class.
Callers wanted to know why the Post-Dispatch had not covered
the exhibit. "Is it because it's about Africa?" asked one woman.
No, ma'am. The paper published three stand-alone photos, one
two days before and two the day after the exhibit opened. A 12-inch
story appeared Friday.
"The Post-Dispatch hid the stories," insisted a caller after I
returned her call.
"We were a little disappointed at the Post's coverage,"
conceded a Science Center executive who preferred anonymity.
"We were led to believe we would get a cover or a center spread
in Get Out."
As St. Louis homie Yogi Berra put it, "It's not over until it's
That gives entertainment editor Ellen Futterman plenty of time
for her planned major feature on the exhibit in late February. She
explained that the paper is planning an in-depth look not only at
the Africa exhibit, which ends May 11, but also the Exploradome.
But go beyond this Africa exhibit to a larger issue.
Sylvester Brown, Jr., publisher of the monthly, Take Five,
reminds the Post-Dispatch in a guest column Sunday (Page 4B) that,
despite its majority readership, he still expects "St. Louis's only
daily paper to be representative of its city population."
Toward that goal, the Post-Dispatch could have taken the same
audacious step the Philadelphia Daily News took five years ago.
An exhibit was held at the Philadelphia Art Museum of the
paintings of a distinguished black artist, Henry Ossawa Tanner, who
has been honored on a U.S. postage stamp.
In cooperation with the Ford Motor Company, the Daily News
published an eight-page broadsheet supplement that the Museum
distributed to the city's schools and to the exhibit's attendees. …