It recently came to the attention of officers of the Minneapolis Club that some of its previous members were not represented among the photos of the club’s membership hanging on its walls, including the club’s first African American member, Cecil E. Newman, founder and publisher of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Longtime member Cornell Moore was instrumental in having this oversight corrected. Mr. Newman, invited to join by George Pillsbury in 1965, was a club member until his death in 1976. Present for the installation last week were members of Mr. Newman’s family: (l-r) Wallace “Jack” Jackman, Dr. Tonya Hampton, Tracey Williams-Dillard and Norma Jean Williams.
Founded in 1934 by Cecil E. Newman, the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder (MSR) this summer entered its 79th year of publishing the state’s oldest Black weekly newspaper. Tracey Williams-Dillard, granddaughter of Newman, is currently the CEO of Minnesota’s oldest Black-owned business. “He started the newspaper [in the Twin Cities] because when he was in Kansas City, he saw how African Americans were being mistreated, and he knew he needed to do
writings to help his people,” recalls Williams-Dillard of her late grandfather. “Unfortunately the times in Kansas City were so rough for Black people that the opportunity for him to start a newspaper [there] was not going to be too great, so he moved to Minnesota. At the time he started his newspaper here in 1934, there still was almost as much discrimination here as it was in Kansas City.” Over the years, the MSR has profiled and advertised many Black businesses, telling the stories of those that have failed, those that have ended after years of success and those that are thriving today. Continue Reading →
Who would ever say that the legendary and renowned Dorothy Bridges would be involved in harming her legacy and imprint on a community bank, Franklin National Bank, which has done so much for the African American community under her leadership? Thus we are puzzled by the attacks on Franklin National Bank (“Stalled museum now battles bank,” Star Tribune, September 1, 2012), and, by implication, on Dorothy Bridges, who was CEO of FNB from 1999-2008 and put all of her energy, her soul, and her vision into making Franklin National Bank the best it could be (doubling the bank’s assets to $116 million). She did more for the African American community than any other bank. During her tenure at Franklin National Bank, we heard about the institution’s generosity, sensitivity and openness, a legacy crafted by Ms. Bridges. Ms. Bridges departed to Washington, D.C. and then returned last year to be a senior VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Continue Reading →
Beginning Wednesday, July 25, A Black History Chronicle Exclusive — Cecil E. Newman: The Friendship, the Life and the Legacy, a documentary produced by ShenaBarber.com Productions, will air on a number of websites and local cable channels. This documentary is a tribute to and celebration of the birthday of Cecil E. Newman (July 25, 1903), businessman and publisher of the Minneapolis Spokesman and the St. Paul Recorder (now the MSR). With only $20, Newman founded the newspapers in 1934. Newman had significant local and national influence, with his relationships with U.S. 38th Vice President Hubert Humphrey, U.S. Senator Walter Mondale, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Josie Johnson, and Curtis Chivers (who once worked for the Spokesman and Recorder). Continue Reading →