Tough for a long time
Earlier it was posted about St. louis and its crime rate...
Well...at that time I said St. louis has always been a tough town...
On November 7, 1837, Elijah Parish Lovejoy was killed by a proslavery mob while defending the site of his anti-slavery newspaper The Saint Louis Observer. His death deeply affected many individuals who opposed slavery and greatly strengthened the cause of abolition.
Lovejoy, who was born on November 9, 1802 in Albion, Maine, decided to seek his fortune in the Midwest after graduating from college. Short on funds, he walked almost 1200 miles to St. Louis, Missouri where, over time, he became editor and part-owner of The St. Louis Times.
In 1831, caught up in the powerful religious revival movement sweeping the U.S. and its frontier territories, Lovejoy experienced a conversion which led him to sell his interests and enroll in Princeton Theological Seminary back East. Two years later, a group of St. Louis businessmen which sought to start a newspaper to promote religious and moral education recruited Lovejoy to return to the city as editor of The St. Louis Observer.
Lovejoy, supported by abolitionist friends like Edward Beecher (the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin), became ever more radical in his anti-slavery editorials. He first supported African recolonization, then endorsed gradual emancipation. By 1835, he sanctioned abolition in the District of Columbia, and, by 1837, championed immediate universal emancipation.
Lovejoy's editorials raised local ire while they increased national circulation. A group of local citizens, including the future senator Thomas Hart Benton, declared that freedom of speech did not include the right to speak against slavery. As mob violence increased over the issue, Lovejoy, now a husband and father, decided to move his family to Alton, across the Mississippi River in the free state of Illinois.
At the time Elijah Lovejoy moved to Alton it was "a booming town of three hundred houses…fifty stores, four hotels and nine boardinghouses, a bank and two schools."1 Alton had some 2500 residents and was considered both the rival of St. Louis and a far more important Illinois city than Chicago.
Mobs had destroyed Lovejoy's presses on a number of occasions, but when a new press arrived in November 1837, the violence escalated. No sooner was the new press off-loaded from the steamboat Missouri Fulton than a drunken mob formed and tried to set fire to the warehouse where it was stored. When Lovejoy ran out to push away a would-be-arsonist, he was shot.