Breaking Green

Radiological Weapons Development and Pruitt Igoe Residents with Ben Phillips and Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor

October 10, 2023 Global Justice Ecology Project / Host Steve Taylor Season 3 Episode 7
Breaking Green
Radiological Weapons Development and Pruitt Igoe Residents with Ben Phillips and Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor
Show Notes Chapter Markers

The Pruitt Igoe housing complex in St. Louis that was built in the 1950s and infamously demolished in the 1970s has been touted by many as a cautionary tale against public housing projects. But its history is complex. In 2012 it was reported that Pruitt Igoe was in a region targeted by the Military for secret tests that were part of a radiological weapons development program. According to government documents obtained by sociologist and researcher Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, the Army referred to the test area a “Densely Populated Slum District.”

Now Pruitt Igoe is back in national headlines. Ben Phillips and Chester Deans, both former residents of the Pruitt Igoe housing complex, are spearheading efforts to have the government recognize its wrong doing, release more information about the its covert actions, and compensate residents of Pruitt-Igoe and surrounding areas. They hope to have residents of the area added to a bill working its way through congress that seeks to compensate residents that were exposed to radiation during cold war era production of nuclear weapons in St. louis.

In this episode of Breaking Green we will talk with Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, the sociologist and researcher who examined the St. Louis open-air experiments for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Missouri Columbia, and after more than a decade of research wrote a book called Behind the Fog: How the US Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans.

We will also talk with Ben Phillips who prior to spearheading the recent push for justice for former residents of Pruitt Igoe, received a degree in sociology from the University of Missouri at St. Louis.

Phillips had a distinguished career in public service as well as St. Louis and Missouri politics.

Ben Phillip's accomplishments include  a gubernatorial appointee to the St. Louis City board of elections commission,  a Mayoral appointment to the City of St. Louis Employees Retirement Board and serving as Presiding of the Missouri State President of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice (NABCJ).

Link to Post-Dispatch story on documentary base on Pruitt Igoe experiments.

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Introduction to Breaking Green
Introduction to Episode
Introduction to Guests
What was Pruitt-Igoe
Personal Experiences at Pruitt-Igoe
Learning about the Experimentation
The Documentary- Trailer
Without Consent
Govt Contractors Indemnified from Lawsuits
Dr. Martino-Taylor's Major Findings
CBR Weapons Program
Army Claims of Harmless Zinc Cadmium Sulfide
Missing Documents in NRC Report
The Man Who Designed the Experiment
Analog Soviet Cities
What does justice look like?
Not Allowed to Litigate
Contrast with other St. Louis Nuculear Waste Sites
Secrecy still Abounds
Call to Action