Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Recent Articles

First Black member of the Minneapolis Club honored

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.

Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Club
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Dialogue now focused on how best to strengthen, not eliminate, state ethnic councils

No final decision expected until the 2014-15 legislative session
By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer


As previously reported in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the legislative audit of the Minnesota councils of color created quite a stir, containing criticisms of the councils as well as the governor’s office and the legislature for lack of oversight and guidance. The audit suggested four options for improving the operations and efficiency of the councils. One of the suggested options, placing the councils under the auspices of the State Department of Human Rights, seems to have attracted the most attention and the most support. Legislative Auditor James Nobles explained to us that the advantages of such a move would be that “You’re connected into the governor’s cabinet; the Commissioner of Human Rights is a member of the governor’s cabinet and formulates a policy and an agenda that the governor will get behind. And that’s pretty powerful… If you connect up with the governor and his agenda through the Commissioner of Human Rights, I think you’re going to get a little more power behind your message.”

Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) Executive Director Ed McDonald disagreed, saying among many other things, “I think that what that would do for the councils is move it into partisan swings. Continue Reading →

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MSR’s 19th Annual Graduation Celebration

By Raymond Jackson
Contributing Writer



On Tuesday, May 7, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) newspaper sponsored its 19th Annual Graduation Celebration to acknowledge African and African American senior students finishing high school. This year’s event was held at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.  

Shed G, co-host of The KMOJ Radio Morning Show, emceed the event, which awarded six graduates Cecil E. Newman Scholarships and two graduates Launa Q. Newman scholarships. Cecil Newman is the founder of MSR; his wife, Launa Q. Newman, carried on as publisher after her husband’s death. The food served was home style, with many in attendance returning for seconds. Continue Reading →

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2014 All-Star Classic lineup

According to DEREK REUBEN, director of the Inner City All-Star Classic, the rosters are set for the annual boys’ and girls’ basketball contests featuring the metro area’s top seniors. Reuben, who was named the state’s Mr. Basketball after an outstanding career at Minneapolis North, started the boys’ game in 1994 with then-teammate and friend RALPH CROWDER. At the urging and persistence of the late community and sports activist KWAME MCDONALD, a girls’ game was added in 2001.  

This year’s Inner City All-Star Classic will be held Sunday, June 8, at the University of St. Thomas. Continue Reading →

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I remember when the community supported us

By Lovell Oates
Contributing Writer


Conclusion of a series

Last week: If the bridge is not built to reconnect these [incarcerated] brothers…in the end, the work being done in the community will become more difficult because a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.  

I remember when Joe and Tyrone were outcast in the community and brothers and sisters would check their behavior. In fact, their families wouldn’t allow it. I talk about Joe and Tyrone in terms of being incarcerated, yet we all know the community is full of these types of brothers that have never been to jail, which makes it worse for the simple fact that the brother in jail at least has a chance to evaluate his situation. Joe and Tyrone, in the free world, don’t even know that they are clowns and fools because it’s normal to everyone around them. Continue Reading →

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Gang summit in Mpls

Preparing for summer 2014

The “invitation only” “North Side Safety Summit” (“Gang Summit”) was held April 18, 2014, in North Minneapolis at the School District’s West Broadway headquarters. The Star Tribune reported “why” April 19, 2014: “The city’s North Side has seen one-third of the city’s violent crime and half of the city’s shootings over the past 14 years… Violent crime rose 24 percent…due to more assaults and robberies…centered around the Folwell, Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods.”

The purpose of the summit was to find solutions for summer 2014’s anticipated gang violence. Star Tribune: “Some 70 public officials…gathered…to talk about pervasive crime numbers and how to lower them.” The “containment” until winter hibernation returns is not a solution. The real solution, as I wrote about in my April 3, 2014 column, is to end the city political culture that results in providing little for the least among us in education, job opportunities, housing, health care, and further decline in families and community. It should have been called the Summit of Denial. Continue Reading →

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How to be a community activist: just show up

While speaking at a local college, I was recently asked a question by a student that I felt I would answer publicly. I was asked what does one have to do to become a community activist and how do you maintain your integrity once you become a community activist. The student also reminded me that this column is 10 years old this year — boy how time flies. The next column will showcase the highlights and history of this column over the last 10 years. Now, onto the question. Continue Reading →

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Lawyers of color names Levy-Pounds one of the most influential law professors in the U.S.

University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds is one of the most influential young minority law professors in the country, according to media and research company Lawyers of Color. Levy-Pounds was named to the company’s “50 Under 50” list for 2014, which recognizes law professors of color who are making “bold contributions to the legal canon and the community at large.”

As professor and founding director of the Community Justice Project, the School of Law’s award-winning civil rights legal clinic, Levy-Pounds fosters and inspires up-and-coming lawyers to work to improve the lives of members of under-served communities and youths in the Twin Cities. Challenging laws and policies that hold back communities of color, she has carved her place in the local civil rights movement. With Levy-Pounds’ vision, the Community Justice Project developed Brotherhood Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that uplifts and empowers young African American males who have had contact with the criminal justice system, are involved in gangs, or are at risk of such involvement. Continue Reading →

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Black female strength coach a true rarity

Conclusion of a two-part column


If it’s hard being a Black female coach in any sport, it’s more than likely harder still for a Black female strength coach. Mia Erickson of the Mayo Clinic Performance Center in Rochester, Minn. was the only Black among the four-person sport science panel at the U of M Tucker Center Women Coaches Symposium in February. “That’s just the way it is on seeing [strength] coaches that look like me,” she admits. “First of all, I’m in a male-dominated field, so there are not going to be a lot of female coaches. Continue Reading →

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