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Brenda Bell Brown: art as a natural part of everyday life

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

Writer, performer and visual artist Brenda Bell Brown, renowned Twin Cities fixture, utilizes the concepts of art and culture as more than an aesthetic pursuit. She successfully realizes them as a community resource. Point in case, a mere partial listing of her accomplishments includes membership in such prestigious institutions as the Black Storytellers Alliance, the Archie Givens Foundation Black Writers Collaborative, and, in her native Tennessee, the Blues City Cultural Center. She earned as well a 2010 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and twice sat as a cultural liaison to the Minnesota State Arts Board. Indeed, to Brown, culture and community are inextricably part and parcel of life itself. Continue Reading →

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Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball

 

 

Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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My Country ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future

Ellison’s bio a cutting-edge tale of resisting bias religious and racial
 
By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Unequivocally a singular success, Congressional Rep. Keith Ellison is one of the more fascinating figures in contemporary politics — indeed, an unprecedented, historic presence. Anyone who doesn’t believe he’s capable of becoming the second Black president of these United States needs merely consider this: How likely was it that with the country still rankling from 9/11, he accomplished a virtually unthinkable feat — becoming the first Muslim elected to Congress? My Country ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future (Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing, $25) is a newly published memoir cum biography and, whether you admire or abhor his consistently controversial stands on hot-button issues — for instance, the proposed mosque at ground zero, downtown Manhattan site of Al-Kaida’s 2001 terrorist attack on America — the book is a significant, definitively informing work that belongs in the library of every American — Black, White, Brown, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, whatever — who wishes to know what he or she is talking about when they discuss the consequence of Keith Ellison. It should surprise no one that a significant amount of the material here concerns itself with Ellison’s devotion to his religion. Along with being the first Muslim to hold his office, he historically is strongly vocal about Muslim Americans getting a fair shake in society. 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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Vikings lean on Peterson in 21-14 win

 

The Vikings ended a two-game losing streak with 21-14 win over Chicago before 64,134 fans at Mall of America Field Sunday while the first winter storm of 2012 was pounding the area with as much as a foot of snow on the Metrodome roof. The great Adrian Peterson continued his remarkable MVP-like season. His march to glory Sunday came with 154 yards, two touchdowns, and a season-high 31 carries. Most of Peterson’s yards, 104, were in the first quarter, helping the Vikings get off to a fast 14-0 start. And getting the partisan big crowd in the game, he ripped off another big 51-yard run. 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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Freedom Rider shares his story with Minnesotans

 
Ernest Patton, Jr. tells untold story of Nashville’s importance to Civil Rights Movement

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Nashville, Tennessee is more known for its country music roots, but the city also has strong roots in the Civil Rights Movement, says civil rights activist Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas’ Tolerance Minnesota sponsored Patton’s October 11-12 visit, where he met with local high school students as well as college students at St. Cloud State University. Patton always wanted to be in music, and his initial goals included teaching music in school. His teaching plans were put on hiatus after he became involved in the Nashville movement in 1961 that led to the eventual integration of the city’s downtown lunch counters. He was featured in Freedom Riders, a PBS documentary based on the book of the same name. Continue Reading →

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