The Nation: Fixing the Odds in Black Jack

Ten years ago, Black Jack, Mo., was bucolic farmland, a crossroads settlement that took its name from a stand of blackjack oak trees that once shaded farmers on their way to market in St. Louis, 15 miles to the north. All of this changed in the '60s with the arrival of the subdividers and developers who cut many of the farms into lots, built ranch and split-level houses in the $30,000 to $35,000 price range. Soon Black Jack was engulfed by the white exodus to the suburbs. Now the town is in the middle...

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