Monthly Archives: January 2013

Washburn Black doll-hanging incident stirs outrage


By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer


The hanging of a Black doll by four Washburn High School students on January 11 created quite a furor at the school and in the Minneapolis Black community. A press conference was called last week and held at the MSR in Minneapolis by parents and community members, in which they expressed their hurt “that this kind of thing is still going on” and the desire to see that the perpetrators disciplined by the school. In a statement read at the press conference, participants said that this is a “needed opportunity to discuss and examine our collective perceptions of safety.” The group also pointed out that it was important to use this as an opportunity to teach students and staff about what is okay to say and do racially and what is not. Last Wednesday a community meeting was held at Washburn in which hundreds attended, primarily students. Parents and community members were concerned initially about the incident being swept under the rug and were alarmed about what appeared to be a delay in informing the students and parents about what occurred. Continue Reading →

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St. Paul native spearheads projects highlighting Black achievement — Rondo, Toni Stone, Jimmy Lee, Dred Scott left imprint on Minnesota history


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Black folk and their accomplishments in Minnesota too often have been overlooked or undervalued, believes Frank White. For several years now White has been working on several civic projects to spotlight historic accomplishments of local Blacks. “I think what I’ve learned is growing up here in Minnesota, we [Blacks] kind of knew our place where we lived in the Rondo neighborhood,” says White in a recent interview at the MSR. “I really didn’t know why we couldn’t go way over there [and] I never questioned that. “Probably the biggest thing I learned is that Minnesota was a very biased state,” continues White. “On one hand, it was accepting of people but on another hand, Jim Crow and bias definitely was here, as it is today.”

White grew up listening to how the experiences of Blacks in the South differed from those in the North. Continue Reading →

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Minister celebrates his 105th birthday — Reverend Smith describes himself as a ‘late bloomer’

On Saturday, January 19, Wayman AME Church in North Minneapolis played host to a glorious event that celebrated the 105th birthday of Reverend Noah Spencer Smith. The church was filled with many people of all ages who Smith has touched over the years. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment Spotlights!


Now through Feb. 17
History Theater
30 East 10th St., St. Paul
651-292-4323 or
Civil rights and labor activist Nellie Stone Johnson was a Minnesota hero. Her feisty spirit and drive to succeed made her a political force to be reckoned with on issues of social justice, labor rights, and equality. Renowned playwright Kim Hines tells the remarkable story of a young African American woman who moved from a farm in northern Minnesota to Minneapolis to attend the U of M.

Woke Up Black, a film by Mary F. Morten

Sat., Feb. Continue Reading →

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SFJAZZ’s new home, Bobby Z’s 2nd benefit, D’Angelo’s new music


Congrats to SFJAZZ. After presenting its first concerts in San Francisco 30 years ago, today the nonprofit organization SFJAZZ has built a home and performance venue of its own. Its grand opening occurred on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 21, 2013. According to a press release about the SFJAZZ opening, “The SFJAZZ Center can now efficiently integrate itself under one roof to present world-class artists in concert throughout the year, nurture young musicians’ development and promote music education.”

“After 30 years of presenting music in a variety of rented venues throughout the Bay, it is with great joy we announce our first season in our new home, the SFJAZZ Center,” said Randall Kline, the founder and executive artistic director of SFJAZZ. He also noted in the press release, “The center is the first free-standing building for jazz in the country — designed, from concept to concert hall, to create an enhanced setting for creating and experiencing what the esteemed jazz writer Whitney Balliett calls ‘the sound of surprise.’”

McCoy Tyner’s January 24 concert at SFJAZZ is already sold out. Continue Reading →

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Ruby! The Story of Ruby Bridges: Play about civil rights-era child hero re-created in new staging



It isn’t often a figure from African America history is still around once his or her accomplishments finally are celebrated. A spectacular exception, of course, is President Barack Obama. Not nearly as famous but nonetheless a hallmark is the triumph in 1960 of little six-year-old Ruby Bridges, documented as the first child of color to set foot in a segregated elementary school. She attended William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and, in those days, it wasn’t a simple matter of being enrolled and showing up for the first day of class in a pretty dress with your pencils all nicely sharpened as you get ready to learn your reading, writing and arithmetic. White hatred of Black people was even worse than it is today and savagely overt in the South, such that this innocent’s mom and dad, Lucille and Abon Bridges were, by request of the NAACP, taking her life in their hands. Continue Reading →

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Let the games begin: the selection of stadium construction manager — Fraser, Davis and Tomlin: quota guys in the NFL?


The push-Black-Americans-in-football-to-the-back-of-the-bus games have begun, raising “Blacks need not apply” signs not only for stadium construction jobs but also NFL team head-coaching jobs. This is not about quotas. It is about statistical probabilities not being met due to intentional skewing out of contention a specific group of people. In this case, Black American workers, whether on stadiums or on stadium-field sidelines. On or about February 1, the Sports Facilities Authority will select a Vikings’ stadium construction manager. Continue Reading →

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Is doll-hanging incident a result of ignorance or callousness?


Someone once said that “the problem with the past is it’s not quite past.” Ironically, the hanging of a Black doll and the dragging of it through school at Minneapolis Washburn was a reminder that the past is not quite past us in our so-called post-racial society. Why would someone hang a Black doll knowing that at the very least it would be attention getting in young people’s consciousness? Some of the young people who spoke at an assembly at the school about the issue said that the perpetrators didn’t mean anything by hanging the doll. A few others said it wasn’t meant to be racist. Maybe not. Continue Reading →

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APRC statement on Russia’s adoption ban


Russia’s recent law that prohibits the adoption of Russian children by United States’ citizens illustrates the enormous complexities of international adoption and exposes the multiple parties and interest groups that have a stake in the process. Thus far, a single interest group that has a particular interest and agenda has dominated the discourse surrounding Russia’s adoption ban. Namely, adoption agencies and organizations that represent adoption agencies are powerful; their money, media connections and access to lawmakers have fueled the construction of a legal system that legitimizes and promotes an agency-centric agenda. Their massive media blitz condemning Russia’s adoption ban has silenced other stakeholders, legitimate voices seeking strategies that genuinely benefit abused, destitute and abandoned children. As adoptees, we are especially sensitive to the plight of children adopted from Russia who suffer the loss of being separated from not only their natural parents, but also from their ancestral homeland and culture. Continue Reading →

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