Freedom Riders is an original musical production created for the Youth Performance Company by Jacie Knight, Matt Koskenmaki and Kahlil Queen (music and lyrics). In the summer of 1961, a group of students boarded buses to challenge segregation. Next to Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Emmett Till (don’t miss Penumbra’s production The Ballad of Emmett Till), the March on Washington and all the events in Birmingham, Alabama, the Freedom Riders created a force that spanned the divisions of race. These young people fought for one common goal: equality. Continue Reading
Marcileen Martin cheerfully declares herself “a true Minnesotan” who has spent roughly half her 67 years in each of the Twin Cities, first in St. Paul, graduating from Central High (the same school as most of the crew from Mint Condition) and, for the last three decades, in Minneapolis.
For her contributions to groundbreaking Black fashion shows in the Twin Cities, Mrs. Ophelia Moss of North Minneapolis, age 92, was honored as Queen for a Day on October 21, 2012 during a special celebration and reunion honoring Black fashion in the Twin Cities.
Gloria Richardson Wright was born at Ancker Hospital in St. Paul on May 3, 1923. Her mother was Elsie Harriet, her grandmother was Etta, and combined they are three generations of women native to St. Paul. Her grandparents previous to this were from Selma, Alabama and Kansas.
So often we find ourselves involved in activities without fully understanding why, as occasionally is the case during our annual observance of Black History Month. This celebration is our most meaningful opportunity to promote cultural awareness, provide direction for our young, and take pride in our collective historical accomplishments.
A visibly surprised Mary Pat Washington welcomes me to the coffee area of the Senior Independent Living Center at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis. She is expecting to be interviewed by the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder for a Black History Month profile — but by Editor-in-Chief Vickie-Evans Nash. Instead it’s just me, a mere writer.
Ahmad Azzahir was born in Grenada, West Indies, where the warm tropical setting makes a person aware of the sun. “You get up with the sun and the morning is bright… So there is a kind of joy, it doesn’t matter how poor you are. So as a kid I grew up poor, but outside all the time, played.”
James Cook’s humble beginnings started in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was born in November 1941. Back then, Pittsburgh was more of rural town where there were no paved streets, and most families lived in homes with large fields where they would plant fruits and vegetables.Cook and his seven siblings were raised in the community by both parents, who did their best to instill strong values in them, such as self-sufficiency, connection to community, and hard work. The importance of such values was mainly exhibited through the work done on the family’s farm.In a system passed on by Native Americans who lived in the community, the Cooks, along with many of their neighbors, grew their own crops and raised animals. “I wouldn’t trade that living experience with anything that I’ve known since,” says Cook.“We were poor, but we weren’t poor; we were very rich in terms of family. We were very rich in terms of environment. Continue Reading