COMMUNITY VOICES | Memories of the Northside

I have had a strong urging to write about my experiences growing up on the Northside of Minneapolis, especially after seeing the decline and almost demise of the neighborhood. I thought I would share it with you.When I was seven years old, my family moved onto Russell Ave North from South Minneapolis (The house is pictured above).It was considered a step up…We were purchasing our first house and my parents put me in a private schoolI was to attend Ascension Catholic School, so yes we were the affluent Black folks who lived in North Minneapolis.We were NOT the only homeowners in the neighborhood, in fact, Mrs. Rhines one of my favorite African-American teachers owned a home a few blocks away.There was a new development called Lyn Park, brand new houses and Black folks buying them, hmmm how much do we see that today?My neighborhood was clean, like what you would see in a suburbI was proud to live on the NorthsideI could walk home from Plymouth Ave North after skating at the Roller Gardens with my friends and feel safe even with the Gang Graffiti spray painted on the buildings near Plymouth and Penn.Plymouth Avenue North was the place to hang out safely, hundreds of youth, probably even thousands hung out there into the wee hours without the disturbance of the police, we played our music without the threat of being shot, it was our block.Picture one of the movies from back in the day that showed teens bumpin’ their music, sitting on top the cars, laughing, eating and just having a good time. Even Caucasian movies showed this type of atmosphere. This is what we had.We did everything in our own neighborhood. Those that lived in our capital city of Saint Paul would travel to the Northside just to socialize with us. I am going to just mention a few names and those that grew up on the Northside will feel similar nostalgia. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | The 2010 Pan African Summit

The 2010 Pan African Summit began to encourage unity between African Americans and Africans born in Africa. The Summit held at the North Minneapolis Center for Families started with a continental breakfast with a large array of choices. Some were happy that coffee was available as one community member stated he could not start his day without coffee! People slowly filled the large room filled with chairs. I sensed a great energy amongst the attendee’s and presenters. Continue Reading