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Rondo oral history project

Repository: Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota History Center

Collection Description (Extant): Collection of interviews, created by Hand in Hand Productions, capturing the lives and experiences of long time residents of St. Paul, Minnesota's Rondo community, an urban neighborhood situated near the city's downtown commercial district. A mixed neighborhood with respect to ethnicity and income, it has been home to a significant African American population since the early 1900s and was a particularly vibrant community in the 1930s. The neighborhood was essentially devastated by the construction of Interstate Highway 94 through its center in the 1960s. Many of its African American inhabitants, businesses, churches, fraternal orders, and social clubs were displaced into more segregated locales where they faced discrimination in housing and other areas.
Subjects discussed by the interviewees include life in the Rondo community, including the role of music, church, and social clubs; resistance and reaction to the highway construction; eviction from Rondo Avenue and trying to find housing elsewhere, transitioning from predominantly black schools to predominantly white schools, and discrimination outside Rondo; racism; employment opportunities during World War II and the subsequent loss of opportunities after the war; military experiences during the war, including in the Tuskegee Airmen and in a Navy band; activities at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center and the Sterling Club; work experiences of both men and women of the community; obstacles to achieving success; and both male and female service in the St. Paul Police Department.
The majority of the transcripts include a 1950s map of the neighborhood and photographs of the interviewee(s).

Origin Info: Interviewed by Kateleen H. Cavett, John Biewan, Kim Zielinski, Lisa Conley, Manny Anderson, Tony O. Dosen, Christina Bonkowske, Sarah Brandt, Buelah Baines Swan, Bettina Heiss, and Kent Shifferd.

Date(s): 1997-2004

Digital Status: Unknown

Existing IDs: OH 110; ocn156356900

Extent: 33 sound cassettes; Transcripts: 34 v. in 34 folders; 28 cm

Finding Aid URL: http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/OH110.pdf External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Benjamin Louis Alexander, Marvin Roger Anderson, Mary Kalleen Murray Boyd, Melvin Whitfield Carter, William L. Collins, Elizabeth Payne Combs, Lisa Conley, Patricia Wilson Crutchfield, Anishah Hanifah Dawan, Carol Dawson, Wilbert John Dugas, William Kelso Finney, Teresina Carter Frelix, Willie Lee Frelix, Kathryn Coram Gagnon, Linda Griffin Garrett, Barbara Vassar Gray, James S. Griffin, Mary Chambers Bradley Hamilton, Vance Owens Hayes, Melvin T. Henderson, Nathaniel Abdul Khaliq, Gloria Jeanne Lindstrom Lewis, Richard M. Mann, Gloria Yvonne Presley Massey, Yusef Mgeni, Gladys Versie Clemons Miller, Paul Thomason Mitchell, Debbie Gilbreath Montgomery, Ora Lee O’Neal Patterson, Constance Raye Jones Price, Ventress Laroe Jackson Roberson, Floyd George Smaller, David Vassar Taylor, H. Janabelle Murphy Taylor, Bernice Wilson, Don Gaugh Wilson, Gloria Ellen Gilbreath Wilson

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

African American neighborhoods
African American police
African Americans--Civil rights--Minnesota
African Americans--Minnesota
African Americans--Social life and customs
African Americans--Societies, etc.
Discrimination in employment
Discrimination in housing
Segregation in education
United States--Armed Forces--African Americans
United States. Army Air Forces. Composite Group, 477th

Genres:

Interviews
Sound recordings
Transcripts

 

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   March 5, 2012
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