In the 1930s and the 1940s Rondo Avenue was at the heart of St. Paul's largest black neighborhood. African Americans whose families had lived in Minnesota for decades and others who were just arriving from the South made up a vibrant, vital community that was in many ways independent of the white society around it.
The Days of Rondo is Evelyn Fairbanks's affectionate memoir of this lively neighborhood. Its pages are filled with fascinating people: Mama and Daddy--Willie Mae and George Edwards--who taught her about love and pride an dignity; Aunt Good, a tall and stately woman with a "queenly secretive attitude"; brother Morris, who "took the time to teach me about the street and the people I would find there"; Mrs. Neal, the genteel activist who showed her the difference between a salad fork and a dessert fork; Mr. and Mrs. Taylor, who started a girls' string band; and a whole assortment of street vendors and playmates who made up the world of her childhood
As she grew up, Fairbanks saw many different sides of her community. Her words bring to life the all-day Sunday services at the Sanctified church, the "perfect days" of her girlhood, and the ghost stories told on the porch of a soft midwestern summer evening. But she also remembers a visit to relatives in Georgia, the deaths of her Mama and Daddy, and the difficult lessons her free-wheeling brother taught her about friends and money. By the time Evelyn was a teenager, World War II was changing St. Paul and the whole world in ways that touched upon her own life. And through the years she was also discovering what it meant to grow up as a black person in Minnesota.
A gifted storyteller, Fairbanks has recreated the patterns of her neighborhood life in a northern city. Her story ends in the mid-1950s, a few years before the Rondo neighborhood was destroyed by freeway construction. In preserving her memories of this distinctive community, Evelyn Fairbanks has added an important dimension to our understanding of Minnesota during those years.
"Fairbanks spins yarns about St. Paul's black society with the flair of a campfire storyteller." --St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Must reading for anyone wanting a clearer understanding of the history of race relations." --Library Journal
"Narrative history at its best." --Choice
"Her prose is simple and concise and is leavened by a rich sense of humor." --Minnesota Monthly
"The Days of Rondo is an interpretive account of events in the life of a black family from the South struggling for survival and meaning in a northern city. Rich in humor and detail, it provides a well-illustrated mosaic of socioeconomic, ethnic, and class realities as seen through the eyes of a young black woman." --David V. Taylor, author of African-Americans in Minnesota
In 1884, young Corabelle Fellows, well-educated and gently bred, overcame her parents' objections and left her upper-calss home in Washington D.C. to become a church-sponsored teacher among the Indian people of Dakota Territory. For the next several years, she taught English, art, and domestic science on Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River reservations. In return for her friendship, the students affectionately gave her the name Blue Star. A keen observer, especially of Indian Women's and Children's lives, she learned much about their family traditions. Her teaching career ended in 1888 when she married Samuel Campbell, A Dakota mixed-blood.
Fifty years later, Corabelle recalled her experiences in Dakota land for Kunigunde Duncan, who turned them into this book, first published in 1938. Her story, with its personal perspective on the Indians struggles to keep their religion, lands, language, and way of life, will both intrigue and enthrall readers.
"Minnesota Impressionists" is a beautiful book that treats an important and previously unexplored chapter in American art. The period covered is pre-1940. Twenty-seven artists including Nicholas Brewer, Elizabeth Chant, and Alexis Jean Fournier and their paintings are addressed in separate essays, arranged alphabetically for easy reference.
Minnesotans have carried on a romance with their lakes for more than a century, and the affair shows no signs of abating. A Place at the Lake is a pictorial account of the summer houses that have proliferated along Minnesota's lakeshores -- the humble and the high-style, the nest of logs and the summer palace.
World-renowned photographer Jim Brandenburg uses the hidden world of his beloved northern woods as the setting for a daunting artistic challenge. From June 21st to September 21st, Jim spent each day capturing the spirit of the Northern Minnesota wilderness through his camera. At the end of each day, Jim edited the day's shoot and picked the best shot to represent that day's adventure. The resulting book literally teems with life. It is filled with the colour and action of a pristine natural world during its most energetic season of the year. It features all of Brandenburg's favourite subjects: wildlife and wildflowers, water and wide-open skies. As always, Jim brings the photojournalist's instinct for the critical moment to each photo. His is a style quite unlike any other nature or wildlife photographer. study in human perspective and vision. For, in addition to being a world-class photographer, Jim Brandenburg is a philosopher/poet. As any reader of his work knows, Jim's influences are broad: Native American mythology, classical Japanese culture and Zen Buddhism. Most of all, though, Jim has lived his life as a dedicated student of the natural world - of earth and sky, of water and wind, of plants and creatures. It is in the cyclical rhythms of the natural world that Jim discovers serenity and the meaning of life, and these lessons are conveyed through the images and words married together in this book.
Why should we save the historic buildings in our cities and towns? What makes a building a historic landmark? What can we uncover of Minnesota's history by studying its historic structures? What do buildings and sites tell us about time and place, experience and memory, people and their needs? Historian Denis P. Gardner beckons us to learn about the profound value of historic buildings and places in this engaging collection of essays. His stories, accompanied by gorgeous color photographs, tell the very human side of our state's history by showcasing some of the state's gathering places, houses, commercial hubs, industrial and agricultural properties, and Native American sites that hold our collective history. Read about Guri Endreson, a Norwegian immigrant widow who defiantly returned to the family's small log cabin near Willmar after her husband and son were killed in the U.S.-Dakota War--and see the evocative photograph of the log structure as it stands today. Or hear of the second-most famous aviator in Minnesota history, Bernard H. Pietenpol, who built airplanes in his garage/workshop in the heart of Cherry Grove, and see one of his prototype airplanes preserved for display. Learn of the wood-framed Classical Hennepin County house of one of Minnesota's most prominent African Americans, Lena Olive Smith, and hear how Smith, the first African American women licensed to practice law in Minnesota, was a tireless crusader for equal rights. As Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, writes in the foreword to Minnesota Treasures: These places help us understand who we are . . . they constitute a unique family portrait of us. And what a colorful, complex, endlessly fascinating portrait it is. In their remarkable variety, the places in Minnesota Treasures may at first glance appear to be a random collection of unrelated artifacts--but in fact they share one very important trait in common: They are all worth saving. Just as we learn about our fathers and mothers--who they were, what they believed, how they lived--from the buildings they left for us, our children will learn about us in the same way.
In St. Paul, where they were outnumbered by Germans immigrants, they nonetheless left a lasting legacy, so that today most Minnesotans think of St. Paul as an Irish town. As farmers and laborers, policemen and politicians, maids and seamstresses, their hard work helped to build the state. Wherever they settled, the Irish founded churches and community organizations, became active in politics, and held St. Patrick's Day parades, inviting all Minnesotans to become a little bit Irish. Author Ann Regan examines the history of these surprising contradictions, telling the diverse stories of the Irish in Minnesota.
"The James Gang raid on the bank at Northfield and its aftermath is America's penultimate rip-snorting horseback robbery story. The outlaws were the most daring and most wanted men in the nation. They dressed well, rode fine horses, were sociable and well-mannered. Conflicting reports arose about nearly everything that happened in the raid and to the participants afterwards. A century of writers made the confusion worse. Mr. Koblas doesn't purport to have all the answers. He presents a book based on exhaustive research that is essentially a presentation of all available reports. He adds much information about something virtually unknown: his research on the pros and cons of Bill Stiles being a ninth man at Northfield who escaped to die peacefully in Los Angeles years later. A masterpiece of historical research. The most detailed examination of a James Gang event to date. Should be required reading for every student of Western history." Paul Meredith, Violent Kin Magazine