The "Nuevo Mestizos" Lowertown Reading Jam will be presented on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. This presentation of the popular and eclectic series, curated by Louis Alemayehu, features performances by Emmanuel Ortiz, Leo Lara and Louis Alemayehu. "We will explore through song, story and spoken word some of the ideas of Gloria Anzuldua as to what it means to live in the border lands of culture, race, sex, class and nationality. There is a visionary identity that connects us to the world, ecologically, spiritually, politically, culturally in a new way... Nuevo Mestizos."Print This Post
My dad James Melvin Young Sr. became a second generation “Red Cap Porter” when his uncle William A. Young retired circa 1949. Melvin was 23 years old when the Saint Paul Union Depot at 214 Fourth Street in Lowertown was the gateway to the world. Working there was the spark that ignited a love for world travel for my dad. There were approximately thirty-six Red Cap Porters employed at the Depot, all African American. Their red caps became synonymous with integrity and reliability. Their work was demanding.Print This Post
During the Civil Rights movement, most youth felt that the leadership of their community was inadequate and didn’t speak to their concerns, and therefore they would “take matters into their own hands.” Little did they realize that their methods and tactics were causing more problems than they were solving, that they had the effect of polarizing the community; as a result, there were constant disputes and conflicts, stemming from those who thought they knew the most about what to do, how to do it, and who would do what about the problems that were plaguing the community.Print This Post
In the spring of 1994, I was a writer in residence for Consortium of Associated Colleges in the Twin Cities. This meant that participating campuses would house me for seven days, and during this time I would do individual and group writing critiques, a workshop, and a formal reading for the entire campuses at St. Thomas University, Macalester College, Augsburg College, Hamline University, and College of St. Catherine.Print This Post
I am proud to make Saint Paul my home, as I feel the African American people of Saint Paul are strong, proud people. The first sixteen years of my life were spent in Minneapolis in a poor White neighborhood. My siblings and I were the only Black children in the schools we attended. Yes, there was a great deal of prejudice in our community. Little children don’t know hate; they have to be taught. Even though my White friends’ parents may not have liked their children being friends with us, most of them accepted it because they loved their children more than they hated us.Print This Post
It was around 9:55 a.m. I was waiting for the library to open.
I saw a cute Ethiopian girl coming toward me. She had dark brown skin, short hair, and a pretty baby face.
“What time is it?” She asked me. Her English accent was very good.
Gordon Parks was an acclaimed artist who confronted poverty and racism with such creative grace that he became an internationally admired cultural icon long before his death in 2006 at age ninety-three. An accomplished photographer, writer, composer, musician, and film producer and director, Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912, and later moved to Saint Paul, where he spent his formative years. His memoir, A Choice of Weapons, which describes his experiences from 1928 through 1944, was first published in 1966 and reissued in 1986 and 2010 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.Print This Post
Katie McWatt was about thirty-three years old when she ran for Saint Paul City Council: In March 1964, civil rights activists Reverend Denzil Carty, Kwame McDonald, and Alpha Adkins convinced Katie McWatt to run for a seat on the St. Paul City Council. There had never been an African-American on the Council in the history of the City. Her experience as an advocate for improved educational opportunities, the hiring of more African-American school staff, lobbyist for non-discrimination in housing, employment of African-Americans in the building trades and a dedication to social justice were critical issues for McWatt.Print This Post
Grabbing the ballet barre to support myself, I attempted to stretch out my right leg. My thigh felt like a vise was twisting it tighter and tighter. The pain was so intense, I was afraid to breathe. I hobbled out of the dance room and nearly collapsed on the hallway floor. Massaging my cramped leg, I watched those energetic adults and wondered how I, a forty-seven-year-old Black woman with no dance experience, ended up in an Irish dance class.Print This Post