Minneapolitans love to imagine that their community was never fettered by Jim Crow restrictions. Longtime civil rights leader Anthony Brutus Cassius liked to complicate this idyllic vision. In the 1970s, when Minneapolis enjoyed national renown as a model metropolis, he would tell newcomers that the city was Janus-faced about its racial prejudices: “Don’t be fooled by appearances.” And later — in an oral history conducted right before his death — he was blunter. “There were great restrictions placed on blacks,” he declared.
Kirsten Delegard is director of the Historyapolis Project, which is part of the history department at Augsburg College. The Historyapolis Project seeks to bring fresh attention to the history of Minneapolis and is working to unearth stories that can explain how the city took shape. During 2014, Delegard is compiling an inventory of historical resources pertinent to Minneapolis with the help of a team of students and citizen-researchers associated with the Historyapolis Lab. For more details visit our website at www.historyapolis.com. This project has been made possible by the Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, which is administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.