The 7th Annual Southside Back in the Day kicked off Saturday, September 3 at Phelps Park in South Minneapolis.
People from the Phelps, King, Bryant and Central neighborhoods joined together to enjoy a full day of live music, free food, vendors, games, prizes, special features and each other. The special features also included a professional boxing ring set up in the middle of the field.
The first match was in the 152 pound Junior Middle Weight division between Devin Ramsey, who is the current Golden Gloves Champion from St. Paul, MN, and Justice Pomeroy, the former Upper Midwest Champion representing four different states.
Ramsey won and the match results will count on their records, but not as a tournament bout. The match was conducted by USA Boxing officials. Former Central Neighborhood Board member Sierra Leone Samuels, who has over 20 years of experience refereeing, refereed the match.
Samuels’ son Jamal “Shango” James is a professional boxer with a record of 20-1. He was in attendance, as were several members of the Circle of Discipline boxing club. This was a first boxing match during a Southside Back in the Day event, but not the last, according to the event’s founder, Phillip Crawford.
The MSR spoke with Crawford about the large turnout and what it means to host the event each year. “You see the love throughout the crowd. Last year we had about 1,200 people show up. More and more people attend each year because we promote love. Our theme this year is “Bridging the Gap”…between young and old, Black and White, Northside and Southside, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Everyone should know that we should be one,” said Crawford, when asked why this event is so popular.
There was a gift card give away during a special Prince tribute that included a picture collage of the late musician mounted on an easel. Some in attendance knew Prince as his Royal Badness, but others knew him as “Skipper” their classmate from Bryant Junior High School. The school is now Sabathani Community Center.
The live music included the Not Guilty band, who had performed at the event previously and were a hit with the crowd once again. The band played a mix of old and new cover tunes, and whatever they played seemed to move two-year-old A’Myra Janae Bell, who was there with her grandmother Darlene Bell. A’Myra delighted the crowd by dancing until the band stopped playing.
Some people in attendance had not seen each other for over 40 or 50 years and took time to greet and hug one another. “I grew up right here,” said Richard Copeland, president of Thor Construction Company, and one of the event’s sponsors. “Right where the band is set up is where I took a hockey puck to the chest, which convinced my mother to put me into a ballet class,” Copeland recalled.
If you missed the Southside Back In the Day event this year and want to learn more about how you can become a vendor or volunteer next year, visit the Facebook page at: @BackInTheDaySouthside on Facebook.
James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. See more photos by James L. Stroud, Jr. below.
James L. Stroud, Jr. is a contributing writer and photographer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.