Recent Articles

Redlining targets Black Minnesotans and neighborhoods

Wells Fargo leads pack according to U of M report on sub-prime lenders

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer


A new University of Minnesota Law School study shows that Blacks and other communities of color and low-income residents in the Twin Cities still lack access to credit. It is an update of a 2009 study that found that Blacks and Latinos — even with “very high income[s] — were much more likely to get sub-prime loans than very low-income White applicants.”

“It’s hard to believe that systemically a Black family that is making $157,000 a year is less likely to qualify for a prime loan than a White family that earns 40 [thousand a year],” noted Myron Orfield, the director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity, which is housed at the U of M Law School. The report also shows that Blacks and other people of color who live in two North Minneapolis neighborhoods had the highest number of sub-prime loans compared to Whites in the same neighborhoods: 59 percent for people of color compared to 42 percent Whites in Near North; and 55 percent for people of color in Camden compared to 29 percent for Whites. These two areas also “were most dramatically affected” among Twin Cities neighborhoods. “Our report [reveals] discrimination in lending against individuals on the basis of race, and also discrimination in lending against neighborhoods on the basis of race,” noted Orfield, who heads the U of M Law School’s

Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (IMO). Continue Reading →

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Black lawyers foundation announces annual Scholarship Gala

On November 9, the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) Foundation will once again host its annual Scholarship Gala. Each year the Scholarship Gala raises money to provide educational scholarships to deserving law school students of color from the four area law schools in the Twin Cities. We invite you to join the MABL Foundation as we recognize this year’s scholarship recipients and honor and recognize community leaders who have helped to advance the mission of MABL. This year’s special guest and keynote speaker is the Honorable Joe Brown. Judge Brown is the nontraditional, no-nonsense, no-holds-barred presiding judge of the syndicated reality courtroom show Judge Joe Brown. Continue Reading →

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James Meredith’s A Mission from God goes beyond remembering the past

He’ll discuss current concerns during an August 29 visit to Minneapolis
A book review 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer


Living, breathing Civil Rights Era history is coming to South Minneapolis’ Hosmer Library in the renowned person of James Meredith, who will read from and talk about his book, A Mission from God: a Memoir and Challenge for America (Simon & Schuster). Following his acclaimed Three Years in Mississippi after nearly 50 years, A Mission from God, written with award-winning author William Doyle, reflects on what went on in Meredith’s mind and how he felt in his heart when he did the unthinkable, single-handedly taking on the most viciously racist state in the union (of which its governor and citizens were staunchly proud) to claim the right to enroll for classes at the University of Mississippi. In 1963, the South, instead of practicing the politically correct racism that prevailed in the North, which claimed to embrace equality while covertly stonewalling it, was very much outright in its refusal to acknowledge, much less accept, people of color as Americans. Blind, unreasoning hatred of Black humanity was such that it actually took 500 U.S. Marshals, the 70th Army Engineer Combat Battalion, the 2nd Infantry Division U.S. Army troops, the 503rd Military Police Battalion, and Mississippi’s National Guard to hold off a rabid, jeering horde of blood-thirsty bigots. Television and film dramas, even documentaries, romanticize then-President John Kennedy and his Attorney General Robert Kennedy for dispatching all that aid like the cavalry coming over the hill when Gov. Ross Barnett withdrew the local police and was going to let Meredith get killed. Continue Reading →

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United Theological Seminary seeks more diverse students, faculty

MSR speaks with United’s new president, Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes

By Robin James

Contributing Writer


The United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is currently celebrating 50 years of service. Since July of 2012, Reverend Dr. Barbara A. Holmes has been the first African American woman at its helm. Her artist’s sensibility, imaginative approach to ministry, and creative problem solving are already being viewed as both inspiring and what’s needed to move the institution forward. Well known as an outstanding leader in theological education and an inspiring lecturer and teacher, Dr. Holmes hails from Memphis Theological Seminary, where she was professor of ethics and African American religious studies and served for five years as vice president/dean of academic affairs. Raised in the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church in New Haven, Connecticut, Dr. Holmes is an ordained minister recognized in the Disciples of Christ and also a member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. Continue Reading →

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Betty Ellison-Harpole: Teaching beyond the recipe, living outside the box

By Alleen Brown

Contributing Writer


Betty Ellison-Harpole moved to the Midwest in the 1950s from segregated Memphis, Tennessee. For 37 years she taught kindergarten through third grade, as one of few African American teachers in Minneapolis schools. She piloted the city’s first all-day kindergarten class at Bethune school in the early 1980s. Although she’s retired now, Ellison-Harpole is still active in education circles, and age has not diminished her personality. If you give her the opportunity, she will talk to you for hours about early education, Minneapolis politics, and growing up poor and African American in the South. Continue Reading →

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