Recent Articles

Generation Next’s education data reveal no surprises


We’ve heard it before: Kids of color lag behind Whites

When it comes to Generation Next, partnerships and outreach play a key role in their hoped-for success. “We’re kind of an opt-in effort, and the more folks you get to opt-in the greater [our] likelihood [of success is]” said Jerimiah Ellis in a previous MSR article (“Outreach director brings diversity to Generation Next team: St. Paul NAACP takes a wait-and-see approach on endorsing initiative,” Dec. 25, 2014). What plays into the success of Director of Partnerships and Outreach Jeremiah Ellis? Continue Reading →

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St. Paul YWCA director ends 20 years of service

William Collins

Billy Collins was first male E.D. in St. Paul, second in the nation

William “Billy” Collins soon will begin his next phase of life. The longtime YWCA of St. Paul executive director is set to step down in April after 20 years of service. “I want to get away from working 50-60 hours a week,” admits Collins, promising that although he’s retiring from the Y, he isn’t retiring from being “a presence in the community. Continue Reading →

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Where is Dr. King’s call for ‘community’ today?


There are several definitions for the word “community” according to Webster’s Dictionary. They include “a unified body,” “people with common interests,” and “society at large.”

These definitions seem to get at what the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once referred to, first in a speech at a church conference in Nashville, Tenn. in December 1962, and then reiterated a few months later in a published article he wrote for Religion and Labor in May 1963.

All humankind is part of a community, wrote Dr. King. “At the heart of all that civilization has meant and developed in “community,” King points out, “is the mutually cooperative and voluntary venture of man to assume a semblance of responsibility for his brother… Man could not have survived without the impulse which makes him the societal creature he is.”

Tragic incidents in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland and elsewhere in 2014 have joined together Blacks and other people of color, as well as non-people of color, to loudly protest for change, for full respect of all in areas of justice in America. Do the emergence of these protests in the streets and public places of America serve as a cry for what the late Dr. King often suggested — assuming a responsibility for our brothers?
Continue Reading →

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Families urged to learn more about PSEO

Teresa Mota

Project offers ‘an amazing chance’ for high school students of color’

Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) classes allow Minnesota high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits that can be applied at most local colleges and universities around the state. These classes are offered on college campuses and are available “to all pupils in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11,” says the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) website, which also points out that most classes are only open to high school juniors and seniors. Continue Reading →

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The MSR 2014 year in review

December 4, 2014: In response to the Eric Garner ruling demonstrators organized an 
event that made its way to City Hall in Minneapolis. Between 1:20 and 2:30 pm, around 
130 demonstrators took to 35W and closed it off. The march went from the 35th street exit  on 35W and headed north to downtown Minneapolis.
December 11-17, 2014

December 4, 2014: In response to the Eric Garner ruling demonstrators organized an event that made its way to City Hall in Minneapolis. Between 1:20 and 2:30 pm, around 130 demonstrators took to 35W and closed it off. The march went from the 35th street exit on 35W and headed north to downtown Minneapolis. Photos for “The MSR 2014 year in review” courtesy of contributing photographers Chris Juhn, Issa Mansaray, Onika Craven, Steven Floyd, Charles Hallman and Mel Reeves. President Obama visits St. Continue Reading →

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As part of our celebration over the next several months of our 80 years of continuous publication, the MSR will be republishing notable stories from our extensive archives of more than 4,000 weekly issues of African American news in Minnesota. Many of our readers will be sure to recognize friends, family and neighbors from the distant and not-so-distant past — such as the passing of one of the last surviving Black Civil War veterans reported in the April 13, 1945 issue of the Minneapolis Spokesman. Continue Reading →

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The Whole Gritty City promotes dialogue on youth engagement

Participants encouraged by young people’s resilience, desire to ‘step up’
 By Charles Hallman, Staff Writer
Young people still need encouragement, especially during turbulent times. This was the impetus behind last week’s free screening of a documentary about New Orleans at Oak Park Youth and Family Center. “Showing the film served a two-fold purpose,” explained Pillsbury United Communities [PUC] Parent Network Manager Edwin Irwin on The Whole Gritty City, the 90-minute documentary following three New Orleans all-Black marching bands — two high schools (O. Perry Walker and L.E. Rabouin) and The Roots of Music, a new middle-age children’s band — as they prepared for a Mardi Gras performance. The film aired nationally in February 2014 as a two-hour special hosted by Wynton Marsalis on CBS’s 48 Hours Presents: THE WHOLE GRITTY CITY. Continue Reading →

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St. Peter’s AME holds Black Lives Matter service

St. Peter’s AME Church, along with Black churches nationwide, asked its members to wear black to church on Sunday, December 14 to symbolize that Black lives matte

“This action is in response to the failure of a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri to indict a White police officer in the killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the failure of a grand jury in Staten Island New York to indict a White police officer in the death of Eric Garner, and other incidents of police brutality leveled against Black persons nationwide,” said Rev. Nazim B. Fakir, pastor of St. Peter’s AME Church. “We need to draw attention to and change a system that systematically subjects Black persons to these injustices.”

Fakir said during his sermon that police officers have a very difficult job; they are supposed to protect and serve the community, and many officers do that with integrity, putting their lives on the line every day. Continue Reading →

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Venerable activist Dick Gregory offers words of wisdom

‘Library of Black radical thought’ shared insights 

on sundry topics during his recent visit


By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Dick Gregory first started out as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s and had become one of the nation’s most popular Black comics — the first to regularly appear on television’s The Tonight Show — before turning to social activism at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He ran for U.S. president as a write-in candidate in 1968 and has demonstrated over many human rights issues, including the first of several hunger strikes in 1980 when he tried to help negotiate the U.S. hostages’ release in Iran. A cancer survivor, the 82-year-old Gregory spoke at the University of Minnesota during a Twin Cities visit in late October. Following are excerpts of his remarks during a panel discussion held at the school’s Humphrey Center and a short, exclusive MSR interview. “I hear people say if you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book,” said Gregory half joking, drawing on his comedic roots to make a point. Continue Reading →

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