Arts & Culture

Best Ways To Celebrate Black History Month

February 4, 2013 7:00 AM

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Five noteworthy events convey the importance of contributions by African-Americans to the history and culture of Minnesota. Some events are free but all are priceless. 

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)


Twin Cities Funk and Soul Revue
Icehouse
2528 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 276-6523
www.minnesotahistorycenter.org

Date: Feb. 8 at 10 p.m.

Price: $10 at the door/$8 for MHS members with advanced purchase.
Reservations required, call 651-259-3015 or go online.

Original Twin Cities’ performers will re-enact the rich music scene of the 1960s and 1970s in a show like none other at the Icehouse. Although the “Minneapolis Sound” swept the nation in the 1980s, propelled by the energy of Prince, there was a rich music scene preceding it in the 1960s and 1970s. It has been said the soulful sound of the Valdons laid the groundwork for the funk revolution. Meanwhile, Willie and the Bumblebees were creating a psychedelic funk sound. Other local luminaries included Wanda Davis, Willie Walker, Maurice Jacox, Prophets of Peace, Band of Thieves and The Exciters. Secret Stash Records recently compiled the sounds of these and other performers on a landmark disc entitled “Twin Cities Funk and Soul (’64-’79).” See them live at the Icehouse.

Black History Month: Meet History Player Toni Stone
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.

St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 259-3000

www.minnesotahistorycenter.org

Dates: Feb. 9 and 23 at 12 p.m.

Price: $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17; free for MHS members

”I loved my trousers. I love cars. Most of all I loved to ride horses with no saddles. I wasn’t classified. People weren’t ready for me,” is how Toni Stone, one of the first women to play Negro League Baseball, describes herself. This Minneapolis Roosevelt graduate is but one of the many fascinating African-American men and women who made significant contributions to the state of Minnesota. Meet them all and make a pennant you can take home.

Related: Best Literary Landmarks In Minnesota

(credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

(credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)


History Lounge: Minnesota, Voting Rights and the Civil War
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
www.minnesotahistorycenter.org

Date: Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.

Price: Free

Forming Minnesota’s constitution fostered furious debate over whether to grant constitutional freedom from slavery and rights to vote for all African-Americans. This tempestuous philosophical battle waged by Democrats and Republicans in creating a new state was feared to create another “Bleeding Kansas” and cast a dagger into the heart of statehood. Slaves co-existed with free blacks in the Minnesota territory through the decades. Slaves Dred and Harriet Scott were held at Fort Snelling since the 1820s. At the same time, black entrepreneur Jim Thompson played a role in the state’s development. Bill Green, Professor of History and former Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, recounts this great era of social change with fascinating detail.

Transportation Then and Now: African-American Contributions to the Rail Industry
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 259-3000
www.minnesotahistorycenter.org

Date: Feb. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Price: Free

There were only 39 black Americans in Minnesota in 1850. After the Civil War, the development of Minnesota’s railroad propelled development and growth throughout the state. African Americans contributed to this growth working as Pullman Porters, wait staff and mail bag grabbers attaining middle class status and settling primarily in the Rondo Community of St. Paul. The Minnesota Historical Society, in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, documents who these unsung heroes were and how they contributed to the economic development of our great state.


Related: Best Free Art Activities In Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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