Baker v. Nelson

When Jack Baker and Michael McConnell became the first same-sex couple in the United States to apply for a marriage license, in 1970, Hennepin County clerk Gerald R. Nelson rejected their application. They then sued Nelson, claiming a constitutional right to marry in what would become a landmark Supreme Court Case.

IWW Lumber Strike, 1916–1917

In December of 1916, mill workers at the Virginia and Rainy Lake Lumber Company went on strike, and lumberjacks soon followed. The company police and local government tried to crush the strike by running the lumberjacks out of town, but when the strike was called off in February, the company had granted most of the workers’ demands.

Staples Earthquake, 1917

The earthquake that rattled a large portion of central and northern Minnesota on September 3, 1917, while small by historical standards, fascinated many Minnesotans. In the days after the quake, exaggerated accounts and faulty expert analysis reflected the state’s inexperience with geological convulsions.

NFO Holding Actions in Minnesota

Minnesota farmers were active in building the National Farmers Organization (NFO), a populist farm group dedicated to strengthening family farmers’ economic well-being. Unlike other farm groups on both the right (the Farm Bureau) and the left (the Farmers’ Union), the NFO during the 1960s focused on direct economic action.

Near v. Minnesota

In early June 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a little-known Minnesota statute was unconstitutional. The 1925 Public Nuisance Bill had been designed to close down newspapers deemed obscene or slanderous. The court’s decision set a national precedent for freedom of the press and censorship issues.

Northfield Bank Raid

When the James–Younger gang rode into Northfield on September 7, 1876, with the intention of robbing the First National Bank, they did not expect any trouble from the local citizens. Unbeknownst to them, the townspeople would soon be nationally applauded for defending their town from some of the period’s most notorious outlaws.

Twin Cities Streetcar Strike, 1917

When the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (TCRTC) refused to recognize the newly formed streetcar men's union, employees took to the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the fall of 1917 to fight for their civil liberties. The labor dispute challenged state jurisdiction and reached the White House before finding settlement the following year.

Twin Cities Streetcar Strike, 1889

Wage cuts to employees of the Minneapolis and St. Paul streetcar companies in 1889 prompted a fifteen-day strike that disrupted business and escalated into violence before its resolution. In spite of public support for the strikers, the streetcar companies succeeded in breaking the strike with few concessions.

New Ulm Military Draft Meeting, 1917

The World War I draft rally held in New Ulm on July 25, 1917, was an exciting event; it featured a parade, music, a giant crowd, and compelling speakers. The speakers urged compliance with law, but challenged the justice of the war and the government’s authority to send draftees into combat overseas. In the end, people obeyed the draft law, while the state punished dissent. Three of the speakers lost their jobs; the fourth was charged with criminal sedition.

Civil Unrest on Plymouth Avenue, Minneapolis, 1967

On the night of July 19, 1967, racial tension in North Minneapolis erupted along Plymouth Avenue in a series of acts of arson, assaults, and vandalism. The violence, which lasted for three nights, is often linked with other race-related demonstrations in cities across the nation during 1967’s “long hot summer.”

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