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Author Talk: Shantyboats and Roustabouts: The River Poor of St. Louis, 1875–1930

December 4 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

The Field House Museum is pleased to virtually welcome Gregg Andrews, author of Shantyboats and Roustabouts: The River Poor of St. Louis, 1875–1930, on Wednesday, December 4, at 10:00am.

Shantyboat dwellers and steamboat roustabouts formed an organic part of the cultural landscape of the Mississippi River bottoms during the rise of industrial America and the twilight of steamboat packets from 1875 to 1930. Nevertheless, both groups remain understudied by scholars of the era. Most of what we know about these laborers on the river comes not from the work of historians but from travel accounts, novelists, songwriters, and early film producers. As a result, images of these men and women are laden with nostalgia and minstrelsy. Gregg Andrews’s book uses the waterfront squatter settlements and Black entertainment district near the levee in St. Louis as a window into the world of the river poor in the Mississippi Valley, exploring their daily struggles and experiences and vividly describing people heretofore obscured by classist and racist caricatures.

This virtual program is free with limited seats for the in-person watch party and limited availability on Zoom. Reservations must be made in advance at https://fieldhousemuseum.org/events/programs/, by calling the Museum at 314-421-4689, or by emailing info@fieldhousemuseum.org.

About the Speaker:
Gregg Andrews is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Texas State University, former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, former Andrew Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities, prize-winning author, and singer-songwriter/recording artist who fronts the south Texas band, Doctor G & the Mudcats. Shantyboats and Roustabouts has won several awards, including the James V. Swift Medal for Excellence in Maritime Literature; the Missouri History Book Award; the John Lyman Book Award; and the Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History.

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