"Firsts" Minnesota's African American Groundbreakers
In May 2009, the Minnesota State Legislature asked the Council on Black Minnesotans and the Minnesota Humanities Center to collaboratively create new programs and events which would celebrate and preserve the artistic, historical, and cultural heritages of Minnesota's Black community. This partnership was launched thanks to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was made possible by a vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.
"Firsts" Minnesota's African American Groundbreakers, is another in this continuing series of collaborative endeavors made possible thanks to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The Humanities Center in partnership with the Council on Black Minnesotans has developed a series of interviews with African American Minnesotans to capture what it means to be a "First." These interviews are hosted and produced by award winning author Alexs Pate and co-produced by the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network ("Building Community through Television"). Alexs Pate is the author of five novels including Amistad: The Novel. The Past Is Perfect, his forthcoming memoir, will be published next year. He is an Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota and has collaborated with the Humanities Center on a variety of projects. The Council identified an original group of 40 Minnesotan groundbreakers from which six were ultimately selected. Segments from this program featuring Sharon Sayles Belton, Arthur Blakey, Jr., Linda Finney, William Finney, Archie Givens, Jr., and Robyne Robinson are included below. These speakers will share in vivid detail their experience of being a true Minnesota "First."
How to search for videos: Choose a category from the drop down menu on the left; then choose a sub-category from the drop down menu on the right. Mouseover the images for a short description of the video.