Lea Hargett

Recent Articles

Another Black athlete gets posthumous recognition

William Henry “Bill” Binga until last weekend was resting in an unmarked grave for over 60 years. Now, that is no longer the case. Binga (1869-1950) played professional baseball before he and players like him were banned solely because of their skin color. As a result, he played barnstorm ball throughout the Upper Midwest and on teams based in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. He also played on the Minneapolis Keystones (1908) and the St. Continue Reading →

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What does the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce do for Black business?

Many Black business owners are not sure
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The overarching question of the MSR multi-part series on local Black businesses is, “Do Blacks support each other?” During our interviews with many local Black business owners, they told us that they are not members of the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), which describes itself as “an alliance of business leaders and entrepreneurs” whose main vision “is to promote and improve the general welfare, prosperity and inter-connectedness of the community of African descent.”

Avenue Eatery Owner Sammy McDowell said he knows about the chamber but is not a member: “I don’t know what it is all about.”

“If I see what it is…if it’s something good for us to be in, I wouldn’t have no problems at all [being a member],” said South Minneapolis barber Cameron Cook. “Why I am not a member? I don’t know. I don’t have an excuse,” responded computer store owner Eugene Banks. “There are a lot of organizations that I am not a part of that I should be a part of. Continue Reading →

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Supporting our own

Community awareness, trust cited as factors in Black business and event success
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

With the African American community being relatively small in Minnesota, it can be challenging for Black business owners and those planning events targeted at Blacks to obtain the level of support they are seeking. But there are at least two events that continue to gain momentum each year. This year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) appeared to be attended by many Blacks. “This festival was one of our most successful festivals, because I did try to tap into those unknown groups” such as community groups with large numbers of African American in attendance, reported TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She noted that during the four-day event held in September, one film was sold out and other screenings had large crowds. Continue Reading →

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Successful Black businesses are open to criticism

Tomorrow’s young entrepreneurs need mentoring opportunities today
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Though the number of Black-owned businesses in Minnesota has been on the rise over the past 20 years, many of them fail to make it past the five-year mark that is generally believed to be the make-it-or-break-it period for new businesses. Currently there are over 200 different types of Black businesses in the Twin Cities area. The MSR recently talked with local Black business people who offered first-hand advice on how to help a Black business thrive today. “We have a great number of barbershops and hair salons, but I would like to see lawyers…and other [Black businesses] in the professional realm,” observed Michael Wright, St. Paul’s Golden Thyme owner and operator. Continue Reading →

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Malls and misconceptions: Black-owned businesses face unique challenges

Second in a series 
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Black-owned businesses in Minnesota have grown steadily over a 20-year span. According to the U.S. Economic Census taken every five years, there were 4,024 Black businesses in 1997; then the number grew to 7,837. The latest count, based on the 2007 census, tallied 12,454 Black-owned businesses in the state. Updated information based on the 2012 census will be released later this fall. However, percentage-wise, Black businesses only make up 2.5 percent of all Minnesota businesses, and just over five percent of all businesses in Hennepin County — nationwide, 13 percent of all U.S. businesses are Black owned. Continue Reading →

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Confusion widespread on Affordable Care Act

 
Enrollment in new MN health insurance exchange begins in October 
 
 
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be in full force sooner rather than later, and U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison says every American will benefit from it. However, he sadly points out that there are “professional misinformation spreaders trying to confuse people” on the law. Ellison held two separate forums on the ACA July 2, first with local small business owners at the Minneapolis Urban League’s Northside headquarters, then with community folk across the street at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. The first was attended by around 20 business people, but none were Black business owners. “We certainly reached out,” said Ellison of this absence. Continue Reading →

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Motivational speaker transfers NBA skills to the business world

Walter Bond teaches audiences the importance of connecting

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

After leaving the NBA, Walter Bond was told he didn’t have enough experience during his job searches. “We’re looking for someone with more experience,” he vividly recalls being told by interviewers who didn’t think playing against and with the world’s best athletes in both college and the pros qualified him for the business world. “You won’t find [any]one more experienced than me,” he told the interviewers. Looking back, Bond said that not getting hired was the best thing that could have happened to him. He has been a motivational speaker for over a decade, appearing before nearly 75 major corporations around the country and teaching his audiences around the world basic principles for success through speeches, workshops, and through his books and CDs. Continue Reading →

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‘Long overdue’ Black museum dedicated

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Roxanne Givens’ dream of a Black museum finally became a reality as the Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) was formally dedicated last weekend. Those present for the ceremony agreed they were sharing a momentous occasion. “When Roxanne had the epiphany, I was just as excited as she was,” says Judie Carmichael Brown of the museum’s founder and acting director. Brown, herself a founding board member and public relations chair, told the MSR that an estimated 200 persons attended last Friday’s three-hour event at the former Coe mansion, which the museum board acquired in 2008, located at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 18th Street South. Master of ceremonies T. Mychael Rambo called the event the “Who’s Who of everybody,” including as it did local and national politicians, business leaders and community folk. Continue Reading →

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Advocates of local Black business urge better-educated spending

Advocates of local Black business urge better-educated spending
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to a 2011 Nielsen consumers report, the U.S. Black population’s collective buying power is projected to be $1.1 trillion by 2015. Many community members, hearing that at least $4 billion is spent annually just by Black Minnesotans, are wondering aloud why economic inequalities in the Black community persist. The answer, some say, is in how and where Blacks are spending that money. The report also found that Black households make more shopping trips annually than any other group — they spend more on basic food ingredients and beverages, fragrance and personal health, and beauty products. Despite making more shopping trips overall, Blacks shop at grocery stores, super centers and warehouse stores less than other groups. Continue Reading →

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