Following is a paper or the history of North Minneapolis done by Gloria Wiese PHD. I hope you are enlighten by it.
Gloria J. Wiese, Ph.D., Director, Edgewater School of Prayer and
Biblical and Theological Studies,
wieglo @ bethel.edu
I. Origin of Minneapolis history is really the history of the Dakota (Sioux) American Indians before Father Louis Hennepin visited the area in the 1680s.
A. Fort Snelling
1. The Dakotas used to claim superiority over other people because their sacred men asserted that the mouth of the Minnesota River was immediately over the center of the earth and below the center of the heavens (“the dwelling place of the gods”).
a. This spot is identified as Pike Island, marked by four ancient oak trees. The Dakotas believed that it was a home of the powerful god of the waters and the underworld.
b. On May 14, 2001, a large celebration and ceremony with people from all faiths was held to bless this spring.
2. Intertribal fighting between the Ojibwe and the Dakota had a long history. By 1800, many Dakota had settled along the lower Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers below the sacred site of the Falls of St. Anthony.
a. To help stabilize the relationship between the two nations, in 1825, under the auspices of United States government agents, the Dakota and the Ojibwe agreed to the establishment of a demarcation between their tribal areas.
b. The line ran northwest across Minnesota from the St. Croix River on the east to the Red River on the northwest.
B. In 1838, an agreement with chiefs of the Dakota tribe opened the lands east of the Mississippi River to private ownership by white settlers. By 1839, some five hundred non-native persons lived in the area.
1. By that time, significant changes in the region had occurred, including the logging of the trees and turning prairie lands into farm land.
2. The buffalo population had been killed off and the populations of deer, bear, and other animals had been greatly depleted.
3. Whooping cough killed many.
4. The Dakota found it difficult to find food; they saw the settlers and the soldiers having adequate rations. In a weakened condition due to health, lack ofresources and food, life grew harder, alcoholism spread and the debt they owed to the traders increased.
5. The buying and selling of land was a concept foreign to the Dakota but they had become dependent on the goods available at the stores and were in need of monies to purchase the goods.
6. To receive monies from the U.S. government, they agreed to sign a treaty to give up their rights to their ancestral lands.
II. 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux officially opened the west bank from the Fort Snelling military reservation to white settlement.
A. Fort Snelling officers owned a small number of black slaves (after 1820), but the majority freely came to Mpls for economic reasons
B. North Minneapolis was described as “beautifully wooded slopes stretching northward and westward” that was “so in contrast with the level, treeless South Town districts.”
C. 1852-53 the following men claimed ownership of N. Mpls:
1. Joel B. Bassett, a Quaker, US Indian agent
2. Emanuel Case
3. Charles W. Christmas
4. Charles Hoag
5. Waterman Stinson
D. Early sawmills and lumber yards built along the river, beginning at the mouth of Bassett Creek and moving upstream, afforded opportunity for employment for new immigrants
E. North Mpls identified as “the working man’s neighborhood” (1890s)
F. The most pervasive retail use in this early era was the saloon.
1. Of all the business listings saloons were most numerous and extended farthest into North Minneapolis.
2. Most were located in the industrial area south of 10th Ave. N.; a handful of saloons were also located on 13th Ave. N.
3. Wirth Lake was known as Keegan’s Lake – drunks from Keegan’s saloon known for their frequent brawls and knifings
G. Prostitution began: 6th Ave. N. and Lyndale Ave.
III. Historically, North Minneapolis was “the Gateway for New Immigrants”
A. North Minneapolis was not exclusively anyone’s turf and thus provided an opportunity for new immigrants to move in.
1. With no barriers that divided it from downtown and the lack of lakes that drew the wealthy to South Minneapolis, North Minneapolis has never attracted the city’s well-to-do residents.
2. However, the Near North Side has served as the first home for new immigrants of the past:
a. Germans and Scandinavians (late 19th century)
b. Eastern European Jews (turn of 20th century, ca. 1882 – 600,000 Eastern European Jewish refugees arrived (escaping repressive laws in Russia and religious persecution).
c. African-Americans by 1920s (Oak Lake subdivision became almost entirely Black by 1920)
B. New immigrants could build their own independent communities based on their old-world institutions, habits, traditions.
1. Most of North Minneapolis was built by 1920 (by the Germans and Scandinavians)
2. Jews and African-Americans that followed them adapted the built environment and added their own distinct culture.
a. African-Americans came to the west bank by 1870s began to locate either south of Franklin (from Nicollet to Portland) or north in the area being vacated by the Jews.
b. By 1920s, segregation began to be enforced as restrictive housing covenants were used to limit where blacks could live, resulting in the creation of ghettos in Minneapolis.
(1) Homewood (platted in 1908) – covenant specifically prevented parcels being sold to Jews and Blacks — a typical device for exclusivity in subdivision development in 20th century; soon overlooked by 1920s became home of mid-upper class Jews on North Side
(2) Beginning of African-American churches (Zion Baptist, Allen Chapel African Methodist)
c. By 1923 – 10 chapters of Ku Klux Klan in the city of Mpls
C. Changing land use patterns with expanding economic development led to the removal of housing and the creation of a railroad and warehousing district.
1. Neighborhoods platted in the 1880s used early Queen Anne or Victorian style houses and later filled in with Classic boxes and bungalows.
2. Poorer and less desirable Jewish districts formed in the vicinity of Sumner Fields.
D. As economic status and assimilation improved, tended to move out of area which began the “Cycle of Evacuation à Replacements”
E. Advent of WW I stemmed the flow of European immigrants and created an acute labor shortage (1915-20)
F. First Churches
1. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (1875) – 1836 James Ave N.
2. Fourth Baptist (1882) – 2105 Fremont Ave N.; Park Advent Christian Church (1883) – 2900 Lyndale Ave N.
3. American Indian Evangelical Church (1823 Emerson, Near North, ca.1906)
4. By 1925, there were 20 Lutheran churches, 9 Methodist, 7 Jewish, 6 Baptist, 5 Catholic (usually divided by heritage: Swedes, Norwegian, German, and Slavic [Bohemian, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian])
5. Variety of heritages of Jewish settlers led to synagogues serving each group.
a. Kenesseth Israel (1891)
b. Talmud Torah (1884 at Kenesseth Israel) – synagogue moved to 818 Bassett Place (1910)
G. Other interesting facts
1. Camden named after Camden, NJ
2. Victory Memorial Drive named after soldiers of WW I and II; statue of Abe Lincoln
3. Phyllis Wheatley House – began as a Black settlement house (Phyllis was a Christian slave girl bought by John Wheatley)
4. Folwell Park – named after 1st U of M president: William Folwell (noted for opening classes to women)
5. “The Way” – formed at 1913 Plymouth Ave N.
IV. After WW I, the last sawmill closed. Former sawmill and lumber yards became scrap/salvage yards (1920-1968)
A. 1920s – restrictive housing covenants were being used extensively to contain and isolate Blacks of the Twin Cities; as a result, ghettos were created
1. Near North Side and Seven Corners became the principal ghetto areas
2. By 1930 – had the highest incidence of deteriorating housing, poverty, vice, and crime
B. Blacks and the poorest of other residents remained along 6th Ave N. an area that increasingly became the focus of social service agencies and local government.
1. Shanty district along the levee of the west bank – flats were inhabited by 19 ethnic groups: Russian Jews, Italians, Irish, Blacks, and later Mexicans (all shared a culture of extreme poverty)
2. 1937 – Minneapolis’ first low income housing project: Sumner Field Homes
a. Noted for its “poverty and neglect” with unpainted and dilapidated houses; alleys “impassable with tin cans, mud, and filth” (of 400 families displaced by the project, only 104 found homes at Sumner).
b. Over time, Sumner Field became the image of North Minneapolis in the eyes of outsiders.
C. 1939 – 60% of all Blacks in Twin Cities were unemployed (large industries refused to hire Blacks for war related work above the level of janitors; e.g., Hamm, Schmidt, Grain Belt, and Gluek), major department stores only began to hire Black salespeople in 1948
V. Post WW II Era
A. Shortage of housing occurred with the return of the veterans
1. Mid-1940s – an overwhelming number of Blacks could not hope to buy or rent outside of definite neighborhoods to which white persons “expect Negroes to be restricted”
2. Many American cities discriminated against the Jews by limiting where they could live, work, or attend school.
a. Minneapolis in particular had a nation-wide reputation as being extremely anti-Semitic.
b. Declared “capital of ant-Semitism in US” (1946) by journalist Carey McWilliams
c. Viewed Jewish middlemen as social enemies (facists political groups attempted to equate Jewishness with Communism)
d. Jews unable to join AAA, Mpls Athletic Club, Kiwanis, Rotary Lions, etc; could not buy homes in certain sections of Mpls, Jewish physicians had difficulty acquiring hospital residences (compelling them to build Mount Sinai hospital -1948)
e. Heard anti-Semitism from Mpls pulpits: William B. Riley, First Baptist Church (who eventually persuaded Billy Graham to replace him as head of a seminary, a Bible institute, and a college that he had establish in Mpls) and Luke Reader, River Lake Tabernacle
B. 1946 - newspaper articles focused on drug ring (1107 Lyndale Ave N.) and 50% increase in sex crimes
C. Urban renewal, Model City planning, and freeway construction displaced many poor residents (1950-60s) – in an attempt to revitalize inner cities, urban planners altered socioeconomic and political bases, undermined the stability of neighborhoods, and irrevocably damaged certain institutions — compounding the housing problem
D. Largest jump in Black population in Mpls – 1960-1970
1. Occurred when the civil rights struggle was at its peak
2. Majority of migrants to Mpls were from the South and North Central states
3. North Side had the largest Eastern European Jewish population in Minneapolis until 1960s. They lived in some of the poorest and oldest housing in the city.
VI. The 1960s: problems of deteriorated housing, lack of jobs, concentrated areas of poverty and frustration with racism flamed in the 1960s.
A. Bootlegging – Sept. 1965
B. 1967 was the worst violence in the history of US race relations
1. 1967 – first Muslim mosque in Mpls
2. Disturbances in North Mpls focused on Plymouth Ave (July 19-20, 1967)
a. Although minor in comparison to Detroit, L.A., and Newark, the riots in North Minneapolis accelerated the movement of the Jewish community out of the area.
b. Sparked by fight between two black women at Aquatennial Parade. Onlookers claimed police brutality (i.e. the police used a club on one of the women; mayor denied) – 50 youths shifted north where they broke windows and set fires in primarily Jewish-owned businesses along Plymouth Ave (Silver’s Food Market was burned to the ground @ 1711 Plymouth Ave, Knox Food Market, and St. Joseph’s Church)
c. Firefighters refused to respond without police protection; police had been warned not to intervene in order to prevent an escalation of conflict (other reports said that the firemen were battling a blaze at Bennett Lumber on the South Side).
d. After an hour of disorder and looting, the police eventually cleared the street.
3. Following night a shooting set off 150 people breaking windows, looting, and tossing firebombs along Plymouth.
a. 18 fires, 36 arrests, 3 shootings, 2 dozen people injured, damages 4.2 million.
b. “Press played it down – Plymouth Ave was like a bombed-out city”
(1) Tribune did not call it a “riot” – but used terms like “disturbance” and “incident” (seems like they were attempting to downplay the seriousness of the events to distinguish them from the larger riots of Detroit and Newark)erd
(2) “Sporadic incidents of arson, rock throwing, and mob violence with racial overtones were reported in Minneapolis” (Mpls Tribune, July 20, 1967)
(3) Harry Moss: “If 300 white kids gather on a beach and start a fight that’s a riot, because it’s something that starts from nothing… but for Afro-Americans there’s something to fight about that makes it a rebellion” (Mpls Spokesman, August 10, 1967)
(4) The Way - became a place of controversy; became associated with fostering racial hatred, prostitution, and other illegal activities (such as drugs); also associated with Prince, who played there as a rising star
c. In the end, there were 3 riots that occurred over a 2 week span – all contained to a 5 block area along Plymouth Ave
d. Caused by racial demographic and tension, timing (1960s), job discrimination (and lack of job qualifications), housing conditions (and unequal housing); lack of recreational activities and facilities; white suburban men patronized prostitutes on North Side and then went back to the suburbs
e. Silvers Food Market was accused on harassing young customers as well as overcharging Black youths for goods
f. Accelerated removal of synagogues (selling them to African-American churches) from North Minneapolis to St. Louis Park and Minnetonka.
4. W. Harry Davis wrote in his autobiography: “Minneapolis was no longer the quiet, isolated small city of my youth. It was growing and becoming more like every other urban area in the country. The racial anger that bubbled to the surface in places like Los Angeles and Detroit was present in Minneapolis, too.”
5. Although we can debate whether it was a riot or not, Plymouth Ave has never been the same. Many businesses either moved or were destroyed – between 1965-1967 Plymouth Ave lost 32 of its commercial establishments (replaced by apartments buildings and 2 police stations)
6. An empty vacant lot along Plymouth and Penn is a testament to the scars of the Mpls riots of 1967
C. April 1968 – Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated
D. June 1968 – Pilot City Project
E. 1969 – race riots in North Mpls along West Broadway
A. 1976-77 – rehab housing projects with bureaucracy and red tape in Mpls Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA)
B. Dereliction of duty and unfair treatment by the police
1. Policeman shot dead, Michael Cassman – May 4, 1979
2. “Soul Police” – citizens patrol streets to protect Blacks, minimize friction with police (backed by the director of the New Way, Harry “Spike” Moss)
3. Fighting perceptions (fueled by media)
4. The Way’s legacy never outgrew the allegations of lawlessness that surrounded it; funding was pulled in 1980s and The Way closed
C. 1980s – absentee landlords, lax housing inspectors, residential burglary
1. “Dirty 30” – Cycle of sellà rental companies à property deteriorates à rent drops à undesirable tenants bring crime and drugs
2. 1982 – #1 crime corner in the city: 11th and Bryant
3. Haven for welfare seeking refugees from Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland
D. 1994 – dubbed “Murderapolis” – year Moonies held festival in Mpls
VIII. Other Influences
A. Chicago/New York-Mpls connection (gangs, prostitution, drugs)
B. Masjid An-Nur Mosque – 1729 Lyndale Ave N.
C. Second Spiritualist Church (ca. 1900) – 2226 Lyndale Ave. N., Hawthorne (seek contact with “the dead”)
D. Readings – (West Broadway and Logan)
E. Prince Hall Grand Lodge (1708 Oak Park, Near North, ca. 1920), Plymouth Lodge (1912 Plymouth, Near North, ca.1922) – location of first Masonic Lodge (across street from Gaylord House?)
F. Big Medicine Springs in Wirth Park – considered sacred Indian site, active witch site
G. High point: Fairview Park watch tower?
North Minneapolis: Recommended Prayer Points
1) What is the redemptive purpose of North Minneapolis?
a. Gateway for the City?
c. Renounce “Murderapolis”
d. Renounce “capital of anti-Semitism in US”
e. Renounce the outsiders’ image that has formed over North Minneapolis (“Minneapolis’ first low income housing project”)
2) Break destructive “sin-cycles”
a. Cycle of evacuation: poor “immigrants” à evacuation à replacements
b. Cycle of poverty and neglect (“Dirty 30”): sell à rental companies à property deteriorates à rent drops à undesirable tenants bring crime, drugs
c. Break Chicago/NY-Mpls connection
i. Drug connection (1107 Lyndale Ave N.)
ii. Crime corner (11th and Bryant)
iii. Prostitution (6th Ave N. and Lyndale)
iv. Alcohol abuse, violence (Wirth Park/Big Medicine Springs – considered sacred Indian site, active witch site)
d. Break abuse, violent treatment of women – Folwell Park
e. Break victim mentality – Phyllis Wheatley House
3) Repentance/forgiveness points
a. 5 block area along Plymouth Ave N. (1711 Plymouth – representatives for Blacks, Jews, Christians, firefighters, police, media)
b. West Broadway and Dupont Ave N. (murders) – or all 26 points? Or prayer-walk a circle around lower area (Plymouth Ave down around Sumner)
c. First American Indian Church
d. First Synagogue – anti-Semitic remarks from Mpls pulpits
e. Homewood – discriminatory covenants against Blacks and Jews
f. The Way? Other?
a. First church in North Minneapolis – St. Andrews Episcopal
b. All churches in North Minneapolis
c. Sumner Fields, Plymouth Ave N.
a. Victory Memorial Drive, Abraham Lincoln statue
6) Deal with other influences
a. 2 mosques (was the 1st Mpls mosque in North Minneapolis – 1967?)
b. Second Spiritualist Church (ca. 1900) – 2226 Lyndale Ave. N., Hawthorne (seek contact with “the dead”)
c. Readings – (West Broadway and Logan)
d. Masonic lodges (especially the first one: across street from Gaylord House?)
e. High point: Fairview Park watch tower?