Deepen your understanding of Black history and the contributions Black Americans have made to Minnesota.
Black History, Black Voices is an initiative that centers Black narratives, history, and issues through ongoing programs, content, and resources created by members of Minnesota’s Black community.
The Black Liberation Movement
The murder of George Floyd catapulted Minneapolis to the epicenter of the Black Liberation Movement. What do we mean when we say “Black Liberation” and the “Black Liberation Movement”? What are the catalysts for these movements historically and how have they been met in Minnesota and in the US?
Black activism in sports has a long and powerful history from Muhammad Ali losing his heavyweight title after refusing to comply with the Vietnam War draft on ethical grounds, to athletes taking a knee and using their collective power to effect change. How has America been shaped by Black sports activists? How has sports activism changed over time—in Minnesota and nationally?
The book Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion (MNHS Press) is a collection of essays that reflect on racial dynamics in the Twin Cities. In this video, two of the book’s editors and other contributors discuss the themes explored in Sparked and the issues confronting Minnesota today.
Juneteenth video series
Juneteenth began as a celebration of the end of slavery in Texas. As historian Dr. Yohuru Williams points out in this video, it has also come to signify the power people have to make a difference.
In June 2021, Juneteenth became a national holiday in the United States. In this video, Heritage Ensemble Artistic Director Sharon Samuels Reed relays the importance of the Negro spiritual, its history, and its connection to Juneteenth.
What does Juneteenth, which is now a federal holiday, mean today? Historian Dr. Yohuru Williams, founder of the Racial Justice Initiative, believes Juneteenth is about agency and action, and still has incredible relevance.
Martin Luther King Jr video series
Join local leaders Edrin C. Williams, Leslie E. Redmond, and Adair Mosely as they explore how Black Minnesotans have refused to normalize injustice and inequality — and who are responding today with action, innovation, and persistence.
From Dr. King to Kamala Harris, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) produce Black American leaders and legends who advance our society. Join HBCU graduates as they explore the origin story of HBCUs, how they are critical to the health of our communities, and how local civil rights leaders advocated for HBCUs in the North.
Staying in the fight for racial equity takes a toll on those involved. In this program, Sondra Samuels and other influential Black leaders discuss their groundbreaking work: delivering innovative solutions all the while challenging activists and allies alike to get in and stay in the fight for racial equity.
Marvel Jackson Cooke
Dr. Yohuru Williams introduces us to a groundbreaking journalist from Minnesota.
Storied: Penumbra, Part 1
Lou Bellamy, Founder and Emeritus Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company, reflects on his life's work of creating and sustaining an African American theatre company in the Rondo community of St. Paul.
MNopedia is a free digital encyclopedia produced by Minnesota Historical Society staff, volunteers, and commissioned writers. Its more than 1,000 entries cover people, places, events, things, and buildings in the state, including many related to African American history.