WashU Expert: R. Kelly had ‘serious problem with power’

Allegations against R. Kelly have finally exploded into the #MeToo era with Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly.” But the singer’s troubling behavior can be traced back decades. “There was a lot of sexual energy around Kelly that we as young people felt was a little bit dark and a little bit inappropriate and a little bit taboo,” says Jeffrey Q. McCune Jr., who studies race, gender and popular culture at Washington University in St. Louis. In the early 1990s, McCune was a student at Kenwood Academy, the Chicago magnet school Kelly had attended just a few years before — and a classmate to one of Kelly’s earliest accusers.
Malcolm Ryder, the first black student to live in The Westminster School's boy's dormitory beginning in the fall of 1968, enjoys a drink with Janice Kemp, one of three black girls who desegregated Westminster in 1967. Image from 1969 Lynx Yearbook, courtesy of Beck Archives-Westminster.

How color barrier fell at South’s elite private schools

While many historians have explored the bitter court-ordered desegregation of public schools following the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, the equally dramatic story of the voluntary desegregation of prestigious, traditionally white, private schools remains largely untold. A new book, “Transforming The Elite,” sets out to fill that void by telling the firsthand stories of the young black students who broke the color barrier at the South’s most prestigious private schools in the fall of 1967.
Older Stories