Lewis Place is a neighborhood in the City of St. Louis. It's boundaries are Martin Luther King on the north, Delmar on the south, Newstead on the east, and Walton on the west.
The neighborhood was placed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks on September 15, 1980.
Lewis Place was established in 1890, when it was a private area owned by William J. Lewis. It was the first African-American private street in St. Louis. The three blocks of homes that comprise the neighborhood were built between 1890 and 1928.
Lewis Place, like many other neighborhoods in St. Louis during the periods between 1910 to 1945, barred African-Americans from buying property on certain streets with the use of restrictive covenants. The covenants were agreements between White homeowners to exclude the sale of their homes to Black buyers.
In the 1940's, a group of determined African-Americans led by Attorney Robert Witherspoon, husband of the famed social activist Dr. Fredda Witherspoon, decided to fight the Lewis Place restrictive covenant. The persuaded fair-skinned Blacks who were able to pass for White, to purchase several homes in Lewis Place. Once the purchases were completed, they then transferred the deeds to the actual owners of the properties, who voted down the restrictive covenant governing the sales of the housing in Lewis Place. This movement lead to the legal thrust that catapulted the landmark St. Louis case of Shelly v. Kraemer into the U.S. Supreme Court. This landmark case struck down restrictive covenants across the entire United States of America.
KETC video about Lewis Place: <youtube v="PLXkgoxtfrQ" />
<googlemap lat="38.654215" lon="-90.248351" zoom="15" width="700" controls="large"> 38.652572, -90.249681, Lewis Place, St. Louis </googlemap>