Still time to attend Black History Month events

Teagen Lagergren, Staff Writer












Rochester Minnesota may not have too much to offer; however, many local organizations do offer events that will show you what it was like for blacks in the 1800’s. One specific example would be the Olmsted History Center, which featured an exhibit labeled “Traveling While Black.” It took the audience members through Rochester locations such as the Avalon Hotel and to situations that revealed obstacles black motorists faced during the Civil Rights Era.


Noted Public Radio celebrity Garrison Keillor attended the event and said that, “Rochester needs to know about its history, particularly the black history, and about the discrimination.” 

Being aware of our past helps us to move our community from a divided, unequal society to one of unity. “History gives you an awareness about what used to happen and what hate can do,” said George Thompson, so attending these exhibits teaches us how to make small and large changes towards fair treatment and respect for our fellow man.


In Minneapolis, people can visit the African American Heritage Museum & Gallery (AAHM&G) or the Minneapolis Institute of art. At the AAHM&G, an exhibit called the history harvest features displays that reveal life in African American communities across Minnesota in the past century. 






















Unbreakable: Celebrating resilience of African Americans in Minnesota is another exhibit they have to offer, as well as Black Ingenuity: Past, present, and future innovations, featuring advancements made by Minnesotans in the field of science. 


Beyond these exhibits, many may seek the beauty or emotion found in paintings, sculpture, and mixed media compositions. Some of the art pieces at the Minneapolis Institute of Art include, Mapping Black Identities, which runs from February 21, 2019 through July 19, 2020, The Enduring Soul (October 26, 2019 – July 12, 2020), and Mia’s Collection (January 4, 2020 – June 14, 2020). Make sure to visit these exhibits for a deeper, more personal connection to this experience.


One last place you could look for taking in black history presentations involves the African American Museum of Iowa. The difference between Iowa’s exhibit and Minnesota’s is that Iowa’s is year round, so even if you find that February is over, there is still an opportunity for enrichment. You can schedule a tour, become a member, donate, and join in upcoming events. 


Much of the history on African Americans in Minnesota is the same as that of other states during the 1800’s. According to Tina Burnside, a writer from “Mnopedia,” during the time of the Civil War, Minnesota suffered a labor shortage, so many people migrated to Minnesota. One of the routes they arrived on was the Mississippi River. This Great Migration allowed the black population in Minnesota to sky-rocket. While Minnesota was a progressive state and had laws against discrimination, there were still situations in which restaurants, hotels, and service were denied. St. Paul segregated it’s schools by opening a School for colored children; however, in 1869 school segregation was banned. Minnesota was just like the rest of the states at the time, but we still managed to fix our laws in ways that benefited our state and all of the people who call it home. 



Article Title: African Americans in Minnesota

Author: Tina Burnside

Website Name: MNOPEDIA


Access Date: Feb. 10, 2020

Publisher:  Minnesota Historical Society

Last Updated: July 22, 2019

Original Published Date: july 26, 2020


Article Title: History center offers a close-up of what it was like to be black in Rochester

Author: MedCity Beat

Website Name:  MedCity Beat


Access Date: Feb. 10, 2020

Publisher: MedCity Beat

Last Updated: 2019

Original Published Date: 2019


Article Title: Olmsted History Center opens new exhibit for Black History Month

Author: Nikki Niak

Website Name: KTTC


Access Date:  Feb. 10, 2020

Publisher: KTTC

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Original Published Date:


Article Title: Exhibit Reveals Rochester’s Racial History

Author: KAAL Crew

Website Name:


Access Date: Feb. 9, 2020

Publisher: ABC 6 News

Last Updated: Feb 21, 2020

Original Published Date: Feb 21, 2020


Article Title: #NotJustFebruary

Author: African American Museum of Iowa Members

Website Name: African American Museum of Iowa


Access Date: Feb 10, 2020

Publisher: African American Museum of Iowa


Article Title: Black History Month

Author: Minneapolis Institute of Art 

Website Name:


Access Date: Feb. 9, 2020

Publisher: Minneapolis Institute of Art 

Last Updated: January 4, 2020

Original Published Date: January 4, 2020


Article Title: Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery

Author: MAAHMG

Website Name:


Access Date: Feb. 10, 2020

Publisher: MAAHMG

Last Updated: 2018

Original Published Date: 2018


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