Fifty shades of white

Monday’s MLK DAY protest march in Minnesota, which included a four-hour game of chicken between the 2-3,000 Black Lives Matter marchers and multiple ranks of police and troopers, including many on Continue Reading

Remembering with pride: The St. Paul Red Caps who built Rondo

It was a combination history lesson, community celebration and family reunion: Friday’s ceremonies kicking off the 2013 Rondo Days festival and honoring the legacy of the St. Paul Red Caps — the vanished black baggage handlers who worked for low wages at the St. Paul Union Depot but who left a successful community behind as their monument.Well-remembered and cherished in St. Paul’s African-American community, the Red Caps had nearly been forgotten by the city at large, just as their contributions were overlooked during their life times. Now, just as the formerly moribund rail depot is being revived to serve modern rail transportation, the Red Caps finally are being given the recognition they richly deserve.It is a fitting honor, but a bit surprising to people familiar with the story of the Red Caps and familiar with it being ignored. Continue Reading

Free at last: Same-sex marriage celebrations rock St. Paul, not to mention church and state

An estimated 7,000 people partied down in St. Paul Tuesday, coming to the Capitol lawn and braving record 98-degree heat to celebrate the dawn of a new era: Same-sex marriages are now enshrined in law — a law signed under the blazing sun by Gov. Mark Dayton after a week’s worth of impassioned debates in the Legislature, years of tumultuous politics and decades of effort by a GLBT community that wouldn’t take no for an answer.

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With hotel purchases, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe welcomes you to St. Paul (again)

What goes around comes around.When early emissaries of American “civilization” paddled up the Mississippi River to the future site of Minnesota’s Capital city — Lt. Zebulon Pike in 1805, Lt. Col. Henry Leavenworth in 1819, Father Lucien Galtier in 1840 — they were welcomed warmly by the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes of the region. Although much troubled history would follow, including decades of war and removal, double-dealing, racism and swindling as native peoples were pushed to the margins of survival, the tribes somehow survived and thrived. Today, in an ironic reversal of fortune that would have been impossible to foresee just a few years ago, Minnesota’s native people again are warmly welcoming people to their homes on the Mississippi River.Homes called The Crowne Plaza and DoubleTree Hotels.At a Monday press conference preceded by a drum song and an invocation in Ojibwe praising the Creator and the spirits that have protected the Anishinaabe — the first people — The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe announced that it has purchased the hotels and their combined 720 rooms, almost half of all the hotel rooms in downtown St. Paul. Continue Reading

150 years after America’s largest mass execution: At Mankato ceremony, Minnesota and its Dakota Indians still search for healing

There were frozen riders on horseback, completing a two-week journey from the Missouri River in South Dakota. There were runners from Fort Snelling who had run, in relays, since midnight on Christmas night and finally arrived, almost 11 hours later, in downtown Mankato. And there was a throng of somber people shivering between the city library and a rail yard, waiting to observe the 150th anniversary of one of the most troubling events in U.S. history:

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